Italian Sponge Cake or Pan di Spagna

  • Serves: Makes two 9 x 2-inch round cake pans
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 325
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This simple, airy sponge cake, flavored with vanilla or citrus zest (or both), is the base for some great Italian desserts, such as Sicilian Cassata, Zuccoto, Sacripantina, Zuppa Inglese, and the always popular Tiramisu. But it's also great on its own, dusted with powdered sugar and savored with a glass of Vin Santo. It makes a wonderfully light breakfast topped with fruit preserves or fresh berries, and, once it's a few days old, it can be sliced and toasted until crisp, similar to biscotti (and great with an espresso!).

Over the past few years, I've tried various recipes for Pan di Spagna, but this is the best one I've found. Here, I've added detailed techniques to make sure it's always successful. Be sure to beat the egg yolks and whites to their full, voluminous potential, sift the dry ingredients, and fold them in quickly and efficiently so the cake doesn't become tough or rubbery. Find out my secret ingredient below to help make it lighter than traditional recipes!

This recipe is used with the:
Espresso Tiramisu Recipe Tutorial

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