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Italian Sponge Cake (Pan di Spagna) & My Baking Classes

Just when I feel like I know all that there is to know about a sponge cake, I come across a recipe for this beautiful, light and airy sponge that doesn’t have any butter, oil, baking powder or soda! It relies completely on how well you whisk the egg and sugar together. It’s essentially just eggs, flour and sugar – three ingredients! I’ve baked this cake using_ Elena’s recipe _twice in the last couple of weeks, adding vanilla extract to the batter and topping it with a white chocolate ganache when I made it for a friend. These pictures are from the second time that I baked it, this time for Papa’s birthday, and worked some lemon zest into the batter and topped it quite simply with some icing sugar. The topping of roughly toppled pomegranate seeds remained a constant both times. What can I say? I have a soft spot for fresh, seasonal fruits!

This is also perhaps the first time in recent years that I baked a non-chocolate cake for Papa Bear’s birthday… yep, that’s what I call him, we are the three bears!

I’d posted this picture on _Instagram _while whisking up the eggs and sugar in my stand mixer, and thank God for it because you need a good 15 minutes of whisking to get it to this consistency. A hand-mixer will work too, but you ought to have a really strong arm if you want to do this just with a balloon whisk!

A photo posted by Tarika Singh (@tarikasingh) on Sep 29, 2015 at 12:22am PDT.

The trick is to get it to a light, shiny and voluminous consistency and fold in the flour in batches, otherwise, you’ll just lose all the air beaten into the batter. And whatever you do, please don’t tap or use a spatula to level the batter when you finally get it into the cake pan because as you can see from the pictures, the batter evens out while baking to reveal a nice, flat layer.

For the last few months, I’ve delved deeply into the flavours of Italian cooking and baking. These bold flavours of simple ingredients have been my calling. I even taught a class on Italian Baking in Mumbai last month. Together, we baked a gluten free Tangerine Cake; we made Biscotti the way Italians do, the Ricotta Cookies were a big hit and everyone got their hands dirty making their own Focaccia from scratch! Look, I even have a video for you. If you want to stay posted on future classes, drop me an email on tarikasingh.work@gmail.com asking me to add you to my mailing list, and since I’m not an e-commerce giant looking to sell electronics during the Diwali holidays, you can be rest assured that I won’t be misusing these addresses! Of course, I update Facebook, Instagram, Twitter now Snapchat (new and so much fun!) about classes.

Focaccia from my Italian Baking class.

We’re getting so close to all the Diwali madness, I have to ask you, what are your plans? Are you traveling or planning get-togethers at home? This Italian Sponge Cake could make for a great addition to keep ready at home if you have guests dropping by, it’s like a showstopper! It never hurts to impress people with the Italian name of this cake – pan di spagna!

Recipe from  As Easy As Apple Pie

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Italian Sponge Cake (Pan di Spagna) & My Baking Classes
Just when I feel like I know all that there is to know about a sponge cake, I come across a recipe for this beautiful, light and airy sponge that doesn’t have any butter, oil, baking powder or soda! It relies completely on how well you whisk the egg and sugar together. It’s essentially just eggs,
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs (roughly 50 gms each)
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • lemon Zest of medium sized Indian
  • 150 gms cake flour * (see how to make it at home in note at end of post)
  • Icing sugar cake , for dusting the
  • Handful pomegranate seeds of
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
serving
Ingredients
  • 5 eggs (roughly 50 gms each)
  • 150 gms caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • lemon Zest of medium sized Indian
  • 150 gms cake flour * (see how to make it at home in note at end of post)
  • Icing sugar cake , for dusting the
  • Handful pomegranate seeds of
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Line a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease it with butter or oil spray.
  2. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, start whisking together the eggs and caster sugar, then add the salt and lemon zest and continue whisk until the mixture is a pale yellow, glossy and voluminous (pictured above).
  3. In about 4 batches, sift in the flour and fold into the batter very gently with a silicone spatula, ensuring there aren’t any bits of unmixed dough.
  4. Pour the batter into prepared pan without tapping the batter or evening it out with spatula. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Don’t open the oven door for initial 20 minutes or cake will deflate. A toothpick inserted in centre of cake should come out clean when baked. When baked, leave the oven door open for 10 minutes (switch off oven) while the cake rests in the oven. Then cool on a wire rack completely before removing it from pan.
  5. Dust with icing sugar and top with handful of pomegranate seeds.
Recipe Notes

If you don’t have cake flour at home, then weigh out 150 gms of all-purpose flour in a bowl and remove 2 tablespoons of flour from this bowl. Replace this by adding 2 tablespoons of cornflour (as we call it in India) or corn starch. Now sift the flours together at least 3 times so that they are well incorporated.

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2 Comments on “Italian Sponge Cake (Pan di Spagna) & My Baking Classes

Elena
October 21, 2015 at 6:00 am

That’s a beautiful cake! I am glad you liked the recipe 🙂

Reply
moina singh
October 25, 2015 at 11:53 am

Seems great. …have to try it

Reply

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