I was very excited to try a new sponge cake as part of Lina’s Recipe Challenge. Lina of Lin’s Recipes hosts a monthly recipe challenge, and this month’s theme is “cakes we have to try this Feb.” The judges for this month’s challenge are Suzanne and Jhuls.
I chose to make Pan Di Spagna, which is an Italian sponge cake. Interestingly, Pan Di Spagna means ‘bread of Spain,’ although it is an Italian cake. It is an airy sponge cake, which can be eaten plain, soaked with syrup, with a side of cream, and/or as a base in many Italian desserts. It is a simple cake made of eggs, sugar, and flour, and is usually flavored with lemon or vanilla and topped with powdered sugar. Although there are a lot of recipes for sponge cake, I didn’t find many in English for this cake. The recipes I found differed, for example, some beat the entire egg together and others beat the egg whites and yolks separately. I decided to use a recipe which beat the entire egg, and I found it at As Easy As Apple Pie. I decided to put my own spin on the cake and go with orange and vanilla, and pair it with a lightly flavored orange whipped cream.
The cake was absolutely delicious and only lasted a day in our house. It is lightly sweetened and has a great spongy texture. My 7 year old loved it and is waiting for me to make it again. Thanks for introducing me to this cake Lina! I hope you all get a chance to try this cake, you won’t be sorry 😀
Make sure your eggs are not cold. Either leave them out long enough to come down to room temperature or place them in a bowl of warm water.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare your cake pan. I used a 9 inch round springform pan with deep sides (2 1/2 inches). Butter the pan on the sides and bottom well. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom and sides. Place the bottom piece in the cake pan and then line the sides. I found this method worked very well.
Place the eggs, sugar, orange zest, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl and beat until the eggs are fluffy and pale yellow (about 15 minutes). When you lift a little of the egg mixture and drop it back, it should stay on top.
Sift the flour into the egg mixture in 2 to 3 batches, gently folding in with each addition.
Pour the batter into the pan. Do not bang the pan on the counter or smooth the top.
Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not open the oven for the first 20 minutes. I cooked at a slightly higher temperature than the original recipe called for and my cake was done in 30 minutes.
Let the cake sit in the pan for 10 minutes before releasing it. Once cooled and ready to serve, add powdered sugar to the top of the cake and serve with my orange whipped cream on the side (see below for the directions).
Add cold cream, vanilla, orange, and orange zest to a mixer with a wire whip attachment and set to high. Don't forget to cover it up!
Once it slightly begins to thicken, steadily add the sugar (I like to stop and scrape the bowl once the sugar is incorporated).
Stop and check the whipped cream once you see it begin to thicken. The whipped cream is ready when it will hold its form (note: you may have to check it several times the first time you make it). Be careful not to over mix or it will separate into butter and buttermilk.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days or serve immediately with your cake.