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Italian Sponge Cake (Pan di Spagna)

Italian sponge cake on a marble board.

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5 from 37 reviews

This fat and dairy-free Italian sponge cake or Pan di Spagna is a light, airy, and delicious cake made with just 3 ingredients. It is perfect plain with a cup of tea or coffee, or to make a celebration cake.  

Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoon (120) g granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup + 4 1/2 tablespoons (120 g) all-purpose flour

* If needed, please refer to Baking Conversion Charts.

**Don’t you have the correct baking pan on hand right now? Try this simple Cake Pan Converter!

 

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 355 degrees F/180 degrees C. Generously butter and flour an 8-inch/20 cm round cake pan and set aside.

  2. Place eggs and granulated sugar in a large bowl and lightly beat with a hand whisk. Continue to whisk and bring the bowl over a bain-marie/water bath to warm the mixture up to 104 degrees F/40 degrees C (warm to the touch).

  3. Remove the bowl from the bain-marie/water bath and beat the eggs/sugar mixture with an electric mixer until the volume is doubled for about 12 to 15 minutes. Add sifted flour and mix with a rubber spatula. 

  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the readiness of the cake with a toothpick or a cake tester: once it comes out clean out of the sponge, it is ready.

  5. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the switched oven (keep the door slightly open using a wooden spoon) to prevent deflating the sponge cake.

  6. Remove the sponge from the oven, and let it cool for the other 10 minutes. Then remove it from the pan by flipping it upside down and cool it on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Turn the cake over, and allow it to cool completely.

Notes

  1. Weigh the flour with a kitchen scale or use a spoon and level method.
  2. Do not overbeat the egg and sugar mixture: stick for 12-15 minutes. Otherwise, the sponge cake will crumble while cutting.
  3. Opt for an 8-inch (20cm) round pan or springform pan. If you choose a cake ring wrapped in aluminum foil, adjustments to the baking time will be necessary. To recalculate the ingredients for a different size of the baking pan, use this simple cake pan calculator.
  4. Keep the oven door closed until the baking is complete. The rule of thumb is not to open the oven door for at least the first 30 minutes of baking. Otherwise, the cake will deflate.
  5. Adjust the baking time if the cake is too dark outside but still not perfectly cooked inside.
  6. Slice the sponge cake with a long serrated knife, a nylon thread, or a cake leveler.
  7. Make-ahead option: Make the cake one to two days in advance if you plan to cut and decorate it. Wrap it in plastic film (aka cling film) and refrigerate it.

Nutrition

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