Here's how to make the viral sponge cake that will make dishwashing a sweet chore

Here's how to make the viral sponge cake that will make dishwashing a sweet chore
Can you tell which is cake and which is sponge?
PHOTO: AsiaOne/Trini Ng

Here's a trick and treat you could plan for Halloween, or any day, really.

In June, a Facebook user named Herman Huang shared pictures of some edible "dishwashing" sponge cakes to little fanfare among his followers.

But it was only after he posted it on the Subtle Asian Traits Facebook group two months later that it went viral. His post about how you can successfully troll your mum or partner with the lookalike cake garnered with over 7,000 likes and reactions after just four days.


Huang even uploaded a video onto his YouTube channel so others could easily follow his instructions on how to make the sponge cakes.


In June, one grandma from Tasmania, Alice Munro, also shared her own version of the dishwashing sponge cakes.

"I like to make look-a-like [object] cakes and I love trying different things. I got the idea in a Facebook group so I googled "dishwashing sponge cake", watched a few tutorials and decided I'd give it a go," the 52-year-old told Daily Mail Australia.

Munro used a four-dollar vanilla cake mix, buttercream and green, yellow and black food colourings to recreate the everyday object. To really sell the idea, she also used oreos and chocolate to create an illusion of a "dirty plate".

I thought it'd be a fun idea and wondered if a non-baker like myself would be able to successfully pull it off. Here's my attempt at the viral sponge cake, following Huang's recipe.


For an 8-inch x 8-inch pan

"Sponge" cake

  • 140g all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2g baking powder
  • 135g melted butter
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g sugar
  • 45g lemon juice (2 lemons would be sufficient)

"Soap" foam

  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 20g sugar


"Sponge" cake

1. Combine the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and whisk it well.

2. Next, add the eggs one by one and continue whisking.

3. Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture.

4. Cut the lemons into half and squeeze as much juice as you can. Use a sift to separate the lemon seeds and pulp, and filter out the juice. Pour the lemon juice into the mixture and mix. 

5. Separate the mixture into two portions. For two-thirds of the mixture, add a few drops of yellow food colouring. For one-third of the mixture, add a few drops of green food colouring plus a drop of black food colouring (you can mix blue and yellow colouring to achieve a green colour).

6. Prepare two baking pans for the mixtures. Preheat the oven to 160 deg C.

7. Bake the yellow cake for 15 minutes and the green cake for 10 minutes.

8. Let the cakes cool down for 15 minutes.

9. Spread some marmalade or butter onto the yellow cake. Place the green cake on top.

10. Cut the cake appropriately to achieve a sponge-shape and scrape off the green cake mildly to give it that "sponge" texture.

"Soap" foam

1. Mix the lemon juice, egg white, vanilla extract and sugar in a heat-proof bowl.

2. Whisk the mixture over a water bath until it becomes frothy, then remove it from the pan.

Verdict: Easy to make and perfect for pranking your family and friends

To be honest, I was quite surprised at how well the cake turned out. Although it didn't look 100 per cent like an actual dishwashing sponge, it was still pretty close.

The steps were easy to follow and you do not need an electronic mixer to combine the ingredients together.

But what's the point of making a "sponge" cake without pranking your family or friends? Or at least try to.

However, fearing that the fruits of my labour would literally be washed down the sink, I instead presented the cake alongside an actual dishwashing sponge and asked my mother to guess which one was the real deal.

Unfortunately, my eagle-eyed mother got it right on the first guess, noticing that the yellow colouring was a little too dark on the "sponge" cake.

She did tell me it was a good attempt though, so at least it wasn't a total failure. While it was all good fun, cakes are still meant to be eaten and it was time to try my creation.


Surprisingly, it didn't taste too bad, although the lemony flavour of the cake was a tad strong for me. 

Considering that both the yellow and green cake layers contained lemon juice, as did the lemon meringue frosting on top which acted as the "soap foam", the cake had an overall zesty tang to it.

Tips for pranksters

Even though my attempt failed to fool anyone, it doesn't mean you shouldn't try it. But to do it better, here are some tips that might help:

1. Make sure to add enough food colouring to ensure that the colour of the "sponge" cake is as close to a dishwashing sponge as possible.

2. When cutting the cake to sponge-size, use an actual sponge as reference.

3. When pranking your family or friends, place the cake at a distance so they won't be able to tell from looking at the colour or texture carefully. Or go the whole hog (if you don't mind wasting food) and place it in the kitchen and see what happens.

4. If you're pranking someone online, make sure the resolution of the photo isn't too high such that they can zoom in for close inspection. In the main photo above, the dishwashing sponge is on the left and the cake on the right, could you tell?

Good luck and have fun! If all else fails, at the very least, you can add this to your list of baking achievements!

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