Pan Di Spagna (Italian Sponge Cake)

Pag Ni Spagna Sponge Cake

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 😀

Pan Di Spagna (Italian Sponge Cake)

Pan Di Spagna (Italian Sponge Cake)


  • Cake recipe adapted from As Easy As Apple Pie
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup and 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 orange
    Orange Whipped Cream
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. real vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. real orange extract
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 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).
  • Whipped Cream
  • 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.
  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days or serve immediately with your cake.
  • 73 Responses to“Pan Di Spagna (Italian Sponge Cake)”

    1. 02/25/2016 at 9:48 am #

      I love this challenge and this looks lovely!

        02/25/2016 at 9:51 am #

        Me too! I am enjoying seeing all of the cakes posted! Thank you Lynn 😀

        • 02/25/2016 at 9:52 am #

          yes it is so much fun to read and look yumm

          02/25/2016 at 9:55 am #

          A lot of interesting cakes! Such a great idea!

        • 02/25/2016 at 9:59 am #

          yes for sure!

          02/25/2016 at 10:00 am #

          A really great experience and I love to learn how to make new things!

        • 02/25/2016 at 10:29 am #

          yes for sure! it is always fun

          02/25/2016 at 10:42 am #

          Absolutely 😀

        • 02/25/2016 at 11:34 am #


          02/25/2016 at 1:24 pm #


    2. 02/25/2016 at 10:02 am #

      Nice job Antonia-sounds marvelous!!!

        02/25/2016 at 10:04 am #

        Thanks so much Cheryl! It is really good and I love desserts that are not overly sweet. Happy Thursday 😀

    3. 02/25/2016 at 10:04 am #

      How fun to have a recipe with so many adaptations available. I imagine that the orange zest in the cake and whipped cream gave it a wonderfully delicious flavor. I also like the idea of soaking anything in syrup- yum!

        02/25/2016 at 10:12 am #

        I love recipes like this Heather 😀 Thank you, the orange is very nice and subtle. We ate this cake way too fast 😉 I am the same way…I adore syrup soaked cakes, and I imagine this is delicious with a fruit flavored syrup.

    4. 02/25/2016 at 11:15 am #

      The presentation and image is beautiful! I’m saving this recipe. I love easy recipes. 🙂

        02/25/2016 at 1:19 pm #

        Thank you! Easy cake recipes are the best 😀 I hope you enjoy it!

    5. 02/25/2016 at 11:31 am #

      Antonia this looks perfect!

        02/25/2016 at 1:19 pm #

        Thank you so much Sadie 😀

    6. 02/25/2016 at 11:54 am #

      Antonia, this cake really does look lovely. I am sure it tasted delicious. I am going to pin it, as I am sure I will be trying this one out for sure 🙂

        02/25/2016 at 1:29 pm #

        Thank you for the kind words Lynne 🙂 That’s awesome, I hope you enjoy it. I’ll be making another soon, if my daughter has anything to do with it…lol!

    7. 02/25/2016 at 2:49 pm #

      This looks lovely and light. Great photo too!

        02/25/2016 at 4:07 pm #

        It really is 😀 Thank you Cynthia!

    8. 02/25/2016 at 5:39 pm #

      A delicious cake, well done! Iove anything that has oranges in and this cake looks great 😊

        02/25/2016 at 10:15 pm #

        Thanks Daniela! Me too… I adore oranges 😀

    9. 02/25/2016 at 7:02 pm #

      Looks amazing, Antonia! Love your pictures too :)This challenge was a lot if fun !

        02/25/2016 at 10:14 pm #

        Thank you for the sweet compliments Freda! It really was and I have enjoyed seeing the gorgeous cakes everyone has posted 😀

    10. kushigalu
      02/25/2016 at 9:13 pm #

      Wish I could have a slice right now. Looks so delicious and yummy recipe!

        02/25/2016 at 10:12 pm #

        I wish I could send you one 😀 Thanks Kushi!

    11. 02/26/2016 at 1:43 am #

      Looks beautiful and I’m sure very tasty! 🙂

        02/26/2016 at 11:44 am #

        Thanks Ronit!

    12. 02/26/2016 at 3:54 am #

      The cake is looking absolutely fabulous 🙂

        02/26/2016 at 11:46 am #

        Thank you 😀

    13. 02/26/2016 at 4:26 am #

      Wow, beautiful! I can almost smell the soft orangey scent…. 🙂

        02/26/2016 at 11:52 am #

        Thank you Rebecca!

    14. 02/26/2016 at 7:20 am #

      This cake presents so well. Great job! I have been a bit afraid of sponges, but this is one I will definitely try! Thanks for inspiring me, and I have to thank Lina’s challenge for leading me here!

        02/26/2016 at 11:59 am #

        Thank you so much Amanda! That’s great…it is wonderfully spongy and light 😀 I have really enjoyed her challenge. I’m so glad you could stop by!

    15. 02/26/2016 at 10:47 am #

      Love that orange whipped cream. Any spongy cake is always welcome. Amazing share.

        02/26/2016 at 12:01 pm #

        Thanks Vidhya! Have a great weekend 😀

    16. 02/26/2016 at 10:51 am #

      Looks sooooo good! good luck 🙂

        02/26/2016 at 12:03 pm #

        Thank you Trupti! Good luck to you as well 😀

        • 02/26/2016 at 12:42 pm #


          02/26/2016 at 4:48 pm #

          Have a great weekend!

    17. 02/26/2016 at 5:37 pm #

      I’m sure the orange flavor added to this cake and the cream made it extra special.

        02/27/2016 at 9:45 am #

        Thank you Judi! It adds a wonderful and subtle flavor 😀 Have a great weekend!

    18. 02/26/2016 at 7:06 pm #

      Good job dear.. Looks inviting

        02/27/2016 at 9:49 am #

        Thank you Vidya 😀 Have a great weekend!

    19. 02/27/2016 at 2:58 am #

      I have a strong weakness for sponge cakes, but I have never tried an Italian one. Hmm, I could almost tell how good is this cake and it smells fabulous. 😀 I am happy to see you at Lin’s Rare Recipe Challenge. Good job! 😉 x

        02/27/2016 at 9:54 am #

        I hadn’t either and really enjoyed learning how to make it. This was such a fun challenge. I love sponge cakes too and they can be eaten so many ways! Thank you so much Jhuls 😀 Have a wonderful weekend!

    20. 02/28/2016 at 11:42 pm #

      I love the lightness of sponge cakes, and this one sounds simply perfect. Simple and delicious flavours… nothing is better whipped cream and cake! 😀

        02/29/2016 at 9:04 am #

        I agree…whipped cream and cake are just perfect together 😀 Thank you!

    21. 02/29/2016 at 10:11 am #

      Love it ! Mouth watering….

        02/29/2016 at 2:27 pm #

        Thank you Swapna 😀

    22. 03/02/2016 at 9:45 am #

      Wow! You have done a perfect job! So glad to have you as a participant! I thought I had already commented on this post, but it is good I checked. I love the way you have presented the cake! The pics have turned out great! I can literally experience the softNess of the cake..wonderful job once again! Atb with the results

        03/02/2016 at 10:04 am #

        You are so kind Lina! Thank you! I really enjoyed this challenge and was so impressed with all of the cakes! Thanks so much for the great idea and the opportunity to try something new 😀

        • 03/02/2016 at 10:05 am #

          The pleasure is all mine! Hope you are participating in the Curry Challenge too!

          03/02/2016 at 4:52 pm #

          I’m not, but am participating in the recipe exchange 🙂 I decided to participate in the pancake challenge, and wasn’t sure if I would have time. I can’t wait to see next month’s challenge!

        • 03/02/2016 at 7:43 pm #

          No problem at all!!!!!!

          03/02/2016 at 9:28 pm #


    23. 03/02/2016 at 12:26 pm #

      Antonia, this cake is wonderful. I am a fan of this simple and elegant cake and the orange scented whipped cream is just perfect.

        03/02/2016 at 1:56 pm #

        Thank you so much Suzanne! I just love orange and cream 😀

    24. 03/02/2016 at 3:25 pm #

      Love the orange vanilla combination!

        03/02/2016 at 4:40 pm #

        Thank you Gretchen 😀

    25. 03/05/2016 at 10:21 am #

      Loved the idea of orange and cream. Cake looks superb!

        03/05/2016 at 6:16 pm #

        It is such a wonderful combination, isn’t it? Thank you Gloria!

    26. 03/05/2016 at 10:22 am #

      also loved the presentation too!!!

        03/05/2016 at 6:17 pm #

        Thank you so much Gloria!

    27. 03/10/2016 at 4:42 am #

      Antonia: I think this looks so amazing. I wonder if it is similar to a torta ( only without filling?). My tastebuds are tingling!

        03/10/2016 at 10:09 am #

        Thank you Amanda! I’m not too familiar with torta, but now you have peaked my interest. I will have to check it out 😀

        • 03/10/2016 at 5:42 pm #

          I often have it at my local Italian hotel/cafe. I will take a photo next time and post on my blog

          03/10/2016 at 8:51 pm #

          Awesome, thank you 😀


    1. Results for the Cake Challenge – Lin's Recipes - 03/05/2016

      […] Antonia – Zoale Pan de Spagna I love this cake I am a sucker for a simple and elegant cake like this, […]

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