This recipe came up in my Facebook feed early yesterday morning as I scrolled through my phone while feeding my baby laying in bed. I had guests coming to visit and I thought this would be the perfect thing to serve them for afternoon tea.
It only needed three ingredients – all of which I had in my kitchen, and fifteen minutes of time – it was a no brainer!
It is literally the simplest cake to whip up and if you have a stand mixer, it’s also the easiest. Just pop the eggs and sugar with vanilla or lemon zest (depending on your preference – which I guess makes it four ingredients) into the stand mixer, set your timer for 15 minutes and get on with doing the dishes, or unloading the dishwasher or getting your kids breakfast or making a cup of tea (all of which I achieved whilst the cake did its own sweet thing in the mixer!)
This is not my own recipe, but I am posting it to my blog for quick reference in the future – this is surely going to be my go to for quick last minute baking requirements. I have never been confident making sponges before – I have tried once or twice maybe but it has always seemed one of those elusive creations that need a certain level of skill or a particular knack to get it right. This needed nothing special in terms of skill level, no specialty ingredients, no weird method, no long winded process to result in a spectacular sponge. It really is the easiest cake I think I’ve ever made!
Please allow me to present to you: the easiest sponge cake in the world – Pan di Spagna (Italian Spongecake). And how pretty does it look on my Rachel Carley Petal Cake plate?
- 120 grams caster sugar
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 t lemon zest or 1 t vanilla extract (you choose)
- 120 grams flour, sifted
- Lemon curd or berry jam
- Softly whipped cream
- Icing sugar to dust
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
- Spray a 20cm round tin with baking spray and set aside.
- Add the eggs, sugar and zest or vanilla to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat using the paddle attachment for 15 minutes on medium-high speed.
- After the 15 minutes, stop the mixer and allow some of the batter to fall off the paddle. If it sets and rests on top of the remaining mixture, it is ready. If the ribbon of batter falls into the bowl and disappears into the batter, it needs longer.
- Gently sift in half of the flour and fold in using a wooden spoon. Add the final half of flour and repeat with the folding, ensuring all flour is mixed in.
- Pour batter into prepared tin. DO NOT flatten the batter or bang the tin to release any air bubbles. Just pour the batter in and place it straight into the oven.
- Set the timer for 40 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN for the first 20 minutes, preferably for the entire 40 minutes.
- Test cake using a toothpick. The sides should have come away from the tin and the toothpick will come out clean when done.
- Turn the oven off. Place a wooden spoon in the door of the oven to set it ajar to allow the cake to cool slowly and set your timer for a further 15 minutes.
- Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack for an additional 10 minutes. Once it has cooled a little, invert the tin and place the cake upside down on a wire rack. Leave to cool completely.
- Once cake has cooled completely, slice horizontally across. Spread jam of your choice or lemon curd across the base of the cake (I switch the top and the bottom of the cake so that what was the top is now sitting on the serving plate and the new top is the smooth bottom of the cake - hope that makes sense!?)
- Top with softly whipped cream and place the top (bottom half) of the cake on to create your finished cake.
- Dust the top with icing sugar.
- Cut with a serrated knife and serve with a cup of tea or coffee!
- The cake should be completely cooled before filling.
- You can make this cake up to three days before serving and keep in the fridge wrapped in glad wrap.
- You can also freeze this apparently, although I have not tried. Wrap in glad wrap and freeze. Defrost on the bench overnight at room temperature.