Pan di Spagna Recipe

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A classic sponge cake that despite its "spagna" name is actually Italian.

The only leavener it uses is the good old-fashioned "get as much air into it as you can" method.

Estimated Prep Time: 35 minutes

Estimated Cooking Time: 20 minutes Cooking at: 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4



Let eggs come to room temperature before starting.

Butter and flour a 9" (23 cm) cake pan. Set aside.

Start heating your oven.

Sift the flour into a bowl; set aside (if ever there's a recipe in which not to be cynical about sifting flour, this is the one. Just do it.)

Separate the eggs, yolks in one bowl; whites in another.

Add the sugar to the egg yolks, and whip with a hand mixer until thick. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.

Rinse the beaters off well, then use the hand mixer to whip the egg whites to a stiff peak.

Then, using a spatula or spoon, fold the beaten egg white into the yolk mixture.

Now add the flour a bit at a time to the egg mixture, and fold it carefully in.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan, place in oven, and bake for about 20 minutes. When done, a toothpick will come out clean, and the top will be golden.

Turn upside down (sic) on a wire cake rack to cool.

When cool, ice and serve, or serve plain, or use as an ingredient in another recipe.

The story behind this recipe...

  • icon
    Pan di Spagna is a sponge cake, and therefore made with no fat. It is very similar to a Genoise and to pasta margherita, and, despite the Spanish sounding name, it's actually Italian.
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