La Torta Margherita

Daisy Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This classic cake is traditionally served at tea time for merenda (the snack that children have after their siesta). It is a plain sponge cake, usually covered with a thick layer of icing sugar, or split in half with a chocolate or jam filling. It tends to be rather dry, and is enjoyed dunked into a bowl of milk, hot chocolate or coffee, or a little dessert wine for adults. It is delightful by itself, and it is also an excellent base for making an Italian trifle, or any other Italian dessert that requires a plain cake base.


  • 200 g/7 oz/scant 1 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
  • 150 g/5 oz/ cups plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 90 ml/6 tbsp caster/superfine sugar
  • 50 g/2 oz/½ cup cornflour/cornstarch
  • 5 ml/1 tsp baking powder
  • 7.5 ml/ tsp grated lemon rind pinch of salt
  • icing/confectionerssugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Grease and flour a 25 cm/10 in cake tin or pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow.

  3. Sift the flour, cornflour and baking powder into a separate bowl, then gradually beat them into the egg mixture.

  4. Gradually beat in the melted butter, lemon rind and salt.

  5. Put the egg whites into a clean, grease-free bowl and whisk until they form stiff peaks. Fold into the cake batter.
  6. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the cake tin for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to finish cooling. Dust with a thick layer of icing sugar just before serving.