Pan di Spagna, here we go!
Back again with another basic recipe that will allow you to create so many amazing desserts (you can see some pictures of the cakes I make with it in this post): pan di Spagna!
Before we start, I thought it'd be nice to give you some historical infos about the origins of the most renowned Italian sponge cake.
Initially, the "pan di Spagna" (literally "bread of Spain" - but it's the traditional Italian sponge) was called "Pâte Génoise" or "Genoese pasta" and its origins date back to the mid-1700s when the Genoese chef Giobatta Cabona, sent to Spain with the marquis and ambassador Domenico Pallavicino, on the occasion of a banquet, presented an incredibly light cake that took the name of "Pan di Spagna" to honour the Spanish court.
This sponge was prepared using the "hot method", i.e. a
ll the ingredients were added and mixed in a bowl that rested on a pan with boiling water (bain-marie).
Over time this method was abandoned and the Pâte Génoise simply became the modern pan di Spagna - sponge cake.
The method that I use for my cakes, actually, is the old method of the "pasta genovese", because I find the final result more fluffy and soft (thanks to the method and to the addiction of the butter - which you don't generally find in the pan di Spagna recipe).
Ingredients (20 cm diameter tin):
20 gr butter (melted)
120 gr caster sugar
200 gr egg (4 medium eggs)
120 gr soft flour (T55) sieved
Warm the egg and sugar on a bain-marie to no hotter than 40°C, whisking until the sugar has dissolved and volume is achieved
Remove from bain-marie and whisk until ribbon stage and cold
Fold in the flour in 3 inclusions, with a spatula
Add in the cooled melted butter
Place into a buttered and floured tin
Bake at 175-180°C until it springs back when pressed or a knife comes out clean.
Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack
The sponge will remain soft for about 2 days. To keep it so, once cold, wrap it in cling film and store it at room temperature. I would not suggest to freeze it.
If you wish to put some flavours in it, you surely can! You can add vanilla pods or you can use other aroma, such as orange or lemon zest.
Good to know:
If the sponge cake goes down after cooking it means that it is not cooked enough.
If the sponge cake is too dark outside but still not perfectly cooked, you need to adjust the power of the oven (check the temperature).
If the sponge crumbles when you cut it, that's a sign that the eggs are too whipped.
Have a try and bake your sponge, then use all your creativity to make a beautiful and delicious cake (feel free to tag us on Instagram!)!