Torta Margherita

Daisy Cake

This is the most classic of all the Italian cake recipes. Absolutely simple, very light, and flavored with a faint hint of lemon peel, this cake would be on stand-by for children’s teas or for dunking into bowls of milky coffee for breakfast. It is delicious thinly spread with cold jelly that has a slightly tart taste, such as sour plum or cherry. You can also serve it in thin slices to dunk into dessert wine as a very simple finishing touch to your meal.


  • butter, for greasing
  • cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 6 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch, sifted
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ tablespoons grated lemon peel
  • a pinch of salt
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10 in cake pan and dust with flour, tipping out any excess.
  2. Beat the egg yolks with the superfine sugar in a large bowl until pale yellow, then gradually beat in the flour and cornstarch.
  3. Gradually beat in the melted butter, lemon peel, and salt. Beat the egg whites in a separate greasefree bowl into stiff peaks, then fold into the mixture.
  4. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until a clean knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out completely clean. Leave to cool in the cake pan, then turn out onto a wire rack. Dust with confectioners’ sugar to serve.