Sephardic sponge cake

Sephardic sponge cake

Pan d’espanya

By
From
Hazana
Serves
6-8
Photographer
Mowie Kay

Literally ‘bread of Spain’, pan d’Espanya was probably first introduced to North Africa by Sephardic Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. It is served for most festivals, especially Purim, Yom Kippur and, of course, the Sabbath. Made from eggs, sugar and flour, with no added fat or water, it can be flavoured with vanilla, lemon or orange rind or orange flower water. This light sponge cake is also the foundation of many other desserts, including paille – an elaborate cake made for weddings and bar mitzvahs that is soaked in syrup flavoured with rum or orange flower water and layered with fresh fruit or fruit preserves, almond paste and melted chocolate, then topped with meringues.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 large eggs, separated
125g caster sugar
1 lemon, finely grated rind
100g self-raising flour

Method

  1. Butter a 20cm springform cake tin and dust with flour.
  2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy, then stir in the lemon rind. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then gently fold into the egg yolk mixture. Gradually fold in the flour to make a smooth batter.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in a preheated 200°C oven for 35–40 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven, unclip the tin and allow the cake to cool for 5 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and set aside to cool completely.
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