Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Pan Di Spagna (Italian Sponge Cake)

Servings: Makes two 10-inch cakes
Nick Malgieri notes that Pan di Spagna (translated, Pan di Spagna means "bread of Spain") is the most popular type of cake in Italy. Like the Genoise cake in France, this sponge-like cake serves as a foundation for many elaborate desserts, such as cassata and zuppa inglese; Nick uses it to make his chocolate-filled dome cake. Italians also serve the cake plain with coffee or tea.

5 eggs
2 egg yolks
6 1/2 oz. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 1/2 oz. cake flour
1/4 tsp. cornstarch
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C. Coat two 10-inch round cake pans with shortening.

2. Blend the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar in a mixer bowl with a wire whip attachment until the mixture doubles in volume-about 15 minutes on high speed. Just before stopping the mixer, add the vanilla and mix in.

3. Sift together the cake flour, cornstarch and salt. Fold dry mixture into egg mixture with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, just until blended.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and put them immediately into the preheated oven. Bake until tops are springy to the touch, about 45-50 minutes.

5. Remove the cakes from the pans and cool on a wire rack. When cool, use a long serrated knife to slice off the tops of the cakes.

Makes two 10-inch cakes.

For Tiramisu or other layer cakes, divide each cake into three uniform layers with a serrated knife.

Source: Nick Malgieri