Pan di Spagna refers to a sponge cake with layers filled with various creams. Pan di Spagna can also be eaten by itself with fruit or it can be used as a base for Zuppa Inglese.
In my childhood, when the tables were poor, we used to wait for the holidays to eat elaborate and tasty dishes. Pan di Spagna was prepared for Easter Sunday to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It was also used as a wedding cake. Usually, made with 20 eggs, cut crosswise into three discs soaked in rum, liqueur and espresso coffee and then filled with creams - a chocolate, an almond and a vanilla. The surface was sprinkled with white powdered sugar.
Today, I make Pan di Spagna at Easter and to celebrate special occasions.
|Celebrating my daughter's birthday|
1 cup sugar
1 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup strong espresso coffee, cooled
1/4 cup dark rum (or any liquor)1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp grated lemon peel
butter and flour for the pan (In Italy we used wax paper to fit in a 10” round pan)
Separate the eggs putting the yolks in a large bowl and the whites in a smaller bowl. Add the sugar to the yolks, and beat until very thick and light yellow in color.
- Beat the whites until they stand stiff.
- Fold the whites into the yolk-sugar mixture. Turn it over slowly and gently until completely mixed.
- Sift the flour.
- Fold the flour slowly, a bit at a time, to the egg-sugar mixture.
- Add the vanilla and lemon peel, folding in gently.
- Butter and flour a 9" cake pan. Pour in the batter and bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. When done the cake will be toasty on top, and a toothpick will come out clean.
- Turn upside down to cool. Let cool for few minutes. (Remove wax paper, if used.)
- Let cool completely.
- When cool, cut crosswise into two discs. Soak each disc with cold espresso coffee, rum or any liquor of your choice.
- Add creams over each disc.
- Dust white confectionery sugar over the surface.
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