Strawberry and mascarpone Italian sponge
Three light layers sandwiched with fruit and creamy mascarpone
Cakes & bakes
xylitol or caster sugar
icing sugar for dusting
Toasted almonds (optional)
PRE-HEAT OVEN TO 180˚C/160˚C FAN/GAS 4
Grease a round 23cm loose-bottomed cake tin and set aside.
Separate the eggs so you have the yolks in one mixing bowl and the whites in another.
Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract until you have a light, creamy and fluffy mixture. This will take around 8 minutes.
Wash the mixer paddles and beat the egg whites for at least 5 minutes, then add the remaining sugar and continue beating for a couple more minutes.
Fold the beaten egg whites into the sugar and egg yolk cream.
Sieve both flours, add a pinch of salt and gradually fold into the creamy mixture.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the sponge is golden brown and firm when pressed in the middle.
Make sure you don’t open the oven door for the first half hour or your sponge will sink in the middle.
Cool the sponge in the tin for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Wash the strawberries. Reserve a couple of whole fruits for decoration and hull and slice the rest. Squeeze the lemon and drizzle the juice over the strawberries.
Mix the mascarpone with the yogurt and the second teaspoon of vanilla extract.
When the cake is cool enough to handle, cut it into three round discs using a serrated knife.
Brush the cut sides of the cake with plenty of juice from the strawberries and sandwich the discs together with the creamy filling and strawberries.
Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar and sprinkle with the toasted almonds if using.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.
This light, airy sponge is simplicity itself to make. Known as Pan di Spagna, which literally means Bread of Spain, it is used as the base for countless desserts and celebration cakes in Italy.
The sponge can be made several days in advance, wrapped in foil and kept in an airtight container.
The mascarpone and strawberry filling can be prepared up to a day in advance and kept in the fridge.