Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Recipe: Italian sponge cake with a creamy filling

As Northern Ireland’s passion for Italian food continues, chef Gennaro Contaldo shares his modern take on some classic recipes.

What you'll need

This is a traditional Italian sponge cake, sometimes known as torta margherita. Over time, it has evolved and this torto paradiso has a creamy filling

For the Sponge

4 eggs, separated

200g Bertolli Spread, plus extra for greasing

200g sugar

150g plain flour

50g cornflour

1 tsp baking powder

1 sachet vanilla powder

Pinch of salt

Zest of 1 lemon

Sifted icing sugar

for the Creamy filling (makes 300g)

50ml water

150g sugar

6 organic free-range egg yolks

175g Bertolli Spread

Seeds of 1vanilla pod or 1 sachet of vanilla powder

1 round cake tin 22cm in diameter, lightly greased and lined with baking parchment paper

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4/350°F.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff and set aside. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks until well amalgamated. In a larger bowl, cream together the Bertolli Spread and sugar. Gradually add the yolks, then fold in flour, cornflour, baking powder, vanilla powder, salt and lemon zest. Gently fold the stiff egg whites into the mixture with a metal spoon until well combined.

Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes until golden and springy to the touch. You can check if it is cooked by inserting a wooden skewer in the centre; if it comes out dry, the cake is ready.

Remove, tip out onto a wire rack to cool, then with a sharp knife carefully cut horizontally into two layers. To make the filling, combine water and sugar in a small pan, place on a low heat, stirring from time to time until the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrup.

Whisk the egg yolks and gradually add the syrup to the bowl. Leave the mixture to cool. Then add the Bertolli Spread and vanilla seeds or powder and continue to whisk until you obtain a creamy consistency. Place in the fridge and use when required.

Spread the creamy filling over the cooled cake layers and sandwich together. Sprinkle with lots of sifted icing sugar over the top and serve. For a really tasty filling, mix some strawberry or raspberry jam into the creamy mix.

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