Portugal's Pandoro is widely regarded as the precursor to many of today's "sponge cakes." Filled with egg yolks, this cake is rich and does not harden over time.
What is Pão de Ló? a traditional Portuguese pastry
The original Japanese Castilla
Pão de Ló, a traditional Portuguese confectionery. Its main ingredients are eggs, sugar, and flour, and it has been around since the 16th century. During that time, when it was common to use yeast to leaven dough like bread, the recipe that could achieve leavening by whipping eggs was revolutionary.
Today, variations of this recipe, such as the British sponge cake, Italian Pan di Spagna, French Genoise, and Japanese Castella, have spread and become popular in various parts of the world.
Pão de Ló in the Ovale region
And speaking of Portugal's Pão de Ló, there are also variations of Pandoro found throughout different regions of Portugal. The one I tried making this time is the Pandoro from the Ovar region.
It is characterized by lining a pottery mold with a single sheet of parchment paper, and the center is kept soft and almost runny, resembling a custard-like texture. It is a specialty product that carries the IGP geographical indication (Pão de Ló de Ovar IGP).
Half-Baked or not
When I first saw the "half-baked Castella" from the Ovar region, I got really excited and wanted to give it a try! I adjusted the baking time to achieve the ideal recipe where the center of the cake oozes out with a gooey texture.
However, it is said that consuming raw flour can cause stomach discomfort for some people. While I personally never had any issues with tasting raw batter even when making pancakes, I understand that some individuals may have sensitive stomachs. Therefore, for this recipe, I opted to fully bake the cake instead of leaving it half-baked.
Although it may seem like a slightly compromised version compared to the initial excitement, I found that the Castella with plenty of egg yolks had a richer taste compared to sponge cakes. It also maintained a moist texture and didn't become too firm over time. Additionally, it was less sweet than regular Castella, making it easier to enjoy.
Due to the abundance of egg yolks in the recipe, the process of whisking the eggs doesn't require as much precision as with sponge cakes, making it less prone to failure. Therefore, I believe this recipe can be a great base for various pastry creations.
- Eggs - Whole eggs and egg yolks are used. The high proportion of egg yolks is a characteristic of this sponge cake, which makes it rich and moist even after a long time.
- Granulated sugar - Since we are not using baking powder or other leavening agents, the cake relies solely on the whipped eggs for its fluffy texture. If using brown sugar or cane sugar, substitute only a portion (less than half) of the granulated sugar amount, as it may affect the egg whipping process.
- Honey - The recipe can be made without honey, but it makes the baking darker and the dough more moist
- Cake flour
Portuguese sponge cake recipe
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) 10 minutes before baking.
Sponge cake dough
Line the mold with one large sheet of baking paper.
In a bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and honey. Beat well with a hand mixer until it becomes pale and thick.
Sift in the cake flour and mix it gently using a rubber spatula.
Place in the middle of the oven at 180°C(350°F) and bake for 15 minutes.
Tips for baking time
The baking time may vary slightly depending on your oven, but I typically bake it at 180°C(350°F) without using the fan. If you bake it for 10 minutes, the cake may still feel too raw overall, while exceeding 15 minutes will result in a thoroughly baked cake.
If you really want to achieve a semi-cooked texture, you can try baking it for around 12-13 minutes as a guideline.
The final texture is a delightful balance between the richness of castella and the lightness of sponge cake. With a higher proportion of egg yolks, the batter is easy to whip, requiring less technique compared to sponge cakes. It retains moisture well and stays moist even after some time. It's a simple and versatile recipe that can be enjoyed as a casual castella or used as a base for other cakes instead of sponge cake. Give it a try!
At room temperature, the cake can be stored for about 3-4 days. In the refrigerator, it can last for up to 1 week, and in the freezer, it can be stored for approximately 1 month.
When storing at room temperature, make sure to wrap it tightly with plastic wrap or place it in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out. Wait until it has completely cooled down before storing. Excess moisture can lead to mold formation, so it's important to avoid trapping steam.
If you plan to freeze the cake, wrap it tightly with plastic wrap first and then place it in a zipper bag or airtight container. This will help prevent any odor transfer.
Due to the higher amount of egg yolks, this cake tends to retain moisture better than sponge cakes, resulting in a longer-lasting moist texture.
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 20 g granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon (21g) honey
- 25g cake flour
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) 10 minutes before baking.
Sponge cake dough
- Line the mold with one large sheet of baking paper.
- In a bowl, combine the eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and honey. Beat well with a hand mixer until it becomes pale and thick.
- Sift in the cake flour and mix it gently using a rubber spatula.
- Place in the middle of the oven at 180°C(350°F) and bake for 15 minutes.
The baking time may vary slightly depending on the oven. In a conventional electric oven, without using the fan, the cake is baked at 180°C (350°F). If baked for 10 minutes, the overall texture may still be too undercooked, while going beyond 15 minutes will result in a thoroughly baked cake, including the center.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 24mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 4g