Pan di Spagna

Sponge Cake

Preparation info

  • Makes one

    9- or 10 inch

    cake layer
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

This typical Italian sponge cake probably originated in Naples during the rule of the Spanish Bourbons; hence its name, which means “Spanish bread.” It is a very fine-grained cake layer thanks to the addition of cornstarch. In Italy, potato starch would be more common, but the cornstarch gives identical results.


  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup


Butter and line with paper a 9- or 10-inch round cake pan that is 2 inches deep.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the vanilla. Whisk in half the sugar and continue to beat until very l