Califonia Bountiful

Manuela's pan di Spagna (Italian sponge cake)

Manuela Zaretti-Carling and husband James Carling make a lemon liqueur called limoncello according to a recipe handed down from Manuela's Italian grandmother

Manuela Zaretti-Carling, Ventura Limoncello Co.

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Sponge cake
5 eggs (at room temperature for best results)
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup flour
2/3 cupĀ  potato starch (you can also use cornstarch)

Chantilly cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Pineapple filling
1 (8-oz.) can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup pineapple juice (from can above)
2 shots Ventura Limoncello or Orangecello


For cake: Using a mixer, beat eggs with sugar on high speed for about 15 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Fold in flour and potato starch. Divide mixture into two generously greased and floured 8-inch round baking pans and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check for light brown color on top. If needed, bake an additional 2 to 4 minutes.

For chantilly cream: Place cream, sugar and vanilla in a mixer and beat until soft peaks form.

For filling: Reserve crushed pineapple pieces; combine pineapple juice and liqueur.

To serve: Let cake cool thoroughly before removing from pans. (You can even invert the pans to cool upside down.) Loosen the edges of cake from the pan and tap the cake out upside down onto a large, round plate covered with parchment paper (will help prevent sticking). Use another large, round plate to cover the bottom of the cake and flip back over. Remove the top plate and use a basting brush to moisten the top of one cake with the pineapple juice and liqueur mixture. Sprinkle some crushed pineapple pieces over the cake and cover with half of the chantilly cream. Place the second cake on top and decorate with the remainder of the chantilly cream and pineapple pieces.

Serves 8

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