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Pan di Spagna-Italian Sponge Cake

in Diana's Recipe Book

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Servings: Makes: 1 (10-inch) cake
Nick Malgieri notes that Pan di Spagna is the most popular type of cake in Italy. Like the genoise in France, this sponge-like cake serves as a foundation for many elaborate desserts, such as cassata and zuppa inglese; Nick uses it to make his chocolate-filled dome cake. Italians also serve the cake plain with coffee or tea.

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

1. Set rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Butter a 9 or 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with buttered waxed or parchment paper.

2. In a small bowl, stir together flour and cornstarch, transfer mixture to a fine-mesh strainer and set aside.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg yolks, half the sugar, and the vanilla on medium speed for 2 minutes, until they are light and fluffy.

4. In a clean, dry mixing bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a clean, dry whisk attachment, whip egg whites and salt on medium speed until white and opaque. Add remaining sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, and continue whipping until whites hold a firm peak when the whisk is lifted.

5. Using a large rubber spatula, fold yolk mixture into whites. Sift 1/4 to 1/3 of flour mixture over eggs and fold in; repeat 2 or 3 times until all of the flour mixture has been incorporated. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until well risen, well colored, and beginning to shrink away from the sides of the the pan, 30-40 minutes.

6. Remove cake from oven and immediately run a knife around the side to loosen it from the pan; remove side. Slide cake, still on paper, from pan bottom to wire rack to cool.

7. Cool cake completely before slicing to use in other desserts. Cake may be wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and refrigerated up to several days or frozen up to 2 weeks.

Makes 1 (10-inch) cake.

Source: Nick Malgieri's Great Italian Desserts
Date: June 26, 2002


Reviewer: DonnaMarie
Hello, I live in Florence, Italy studying language and culinary. After two attempts using an Italian cookbook (my torte (cakes) had sunkened middles)...I gave up and went to the Internet and found your site. I used the ingredents in my cookbook but used the method of combining the ingredents from the recipe on your site here. And presto, I had a beutiful torta!!! I belong to an organization here in Florence for English speaking women who live here. We gather once a month and I'm bring a Torta Al Kiwi to the dinner that happens before our meetings. The recipe calls for using Pan di Spagna as the base. Thank you for having this site!!!


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