Ever tried a traditional Torta Paradiso, the heavenly Italian Paradise Sponge Cake? Made with a generous amount of butter, eggs and flour, this recipe is soft, rich, and has a delicious citrus fragrance: comfort food at its finest!
Love trying new cake recipes? This brazilian carrot cake with chocolate is the best version of a carrot cake!
🍰Why bake it
Torta Paradiso, or Paradise Cake, lives up to its name: this lemon sponge cake is definitely a slice of paradise!
- This is a rich and fragrant cake - just like my famous Earl Grey Cake.
- The recipe works great with fillings like custard, fruits, creams, and even chantilly;
- Paradise cake is truly a torta soffice: the softest cake you’ll ever bake!
📃Ingredients and substitutions
Butter. Choose a good (and unsalted) quality butter for this recipe. It needs to be at room temperature (softened) when starting the batter, so take it out of the fridge one hour before making the cake.
Potato starch. It makes the batter fluffier. You can substitute potato starch with cornstarch and get a very similar result.
Lemon zest. Grate the peel of the citrus just before using it. You can substitute lemons with limes or oranges, for a delicious flavor variation.
Icing sugar. Using icing sugar on the batter is a secret to make this cake even more melt-in-your-mouth soft. Try not to use granulated sugar: it works, but affects the cake's texture. Don't substitute for any other sugar.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and substitutions.
🥣How to make it
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F/180°C.
Step 1. Using a mixer, high speed, whip butter, sugar and lemon zest for about 15 minutes, or until you get a very light, snowy cream.
Step 2. Add slowly (using medium speed) the eggs, egg yolks and vanilla paste, previously beaten lightly with a fork. Add ⅕ of it, then add more just after the eggs are fully incorporated.
Expert tip: The eggs must be at room temperature to avoid the batter curdling!
Step 3. In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: starch, flour, salt and baking powder.
Step 4. Start adding the dry mixture in small portions, mixing at low speed and only adding more when the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.
Step 5. Butter or line with parchment paper a round baking pan. You can use a 7’’ round baking pan (bake for about 50 minutes), or a 9’’ round baking pan (bake for about 40 minutes).
Step 6. Pour the batter, distributing it evenly. Use a spoon or spatula to even the surface.
Step 7. Bake for 50 minutes if using a 7’’ round baking pan, 40 minutes if using a 9’’ round baking pan. The top should be brown, and a toothpick must come out clean when inserted in the middle.
Step 8. After 15 minutes, remove from baking pan, placing it in a cool rack for cake to cool. Top it with icing sugar.
- For this cake to be extra soft, butter needs to be at room temperature. This ingredient needs to be soft and malleable to the touch, so that it can be whipped into a soft cream with the sugar.
- Also, add the eggs bit by bit: doing so prevents the batter of losing the air previously incorporated when whisking the butter.
- Eggs need to be at room temperature, or the batter will curdle!
- Do not open the oven’s door while baking during the first 30 minutes, or the cake might sink.
- Careful to not overbake, or you'll get a dry cake. Check for doneness after 35 minutes with a toothpick. If it comes dry, cake is ready.
- Do not substitute icing sugar with regular or any other sugar if you want this cake to be extra soft.
- Torta Paradiso should be enjoyed at room temperature: wait at least 40 minutes for it to cool before serving.
🙋🏻♀️Questions you might have
Torta Paradiso, also known as Paradise Cake, is an Italian sponge cake flavored with lemon zest. It can be served with only icing sugar sprinkled on the top, or filled with custards, creams or fruits.
The main difference between the Paradiso and Margherita cakes is that for Torta Paradiso, you start beating butter and sugar first, while eggs are added later. The recipe for Margherita Cake starts by beating eggs and sugar, adding the butter after. Ingredient amounts also differ.
If after adding eggs, the batter starts to curdle, add one to two tablespoons of the flour asked in the recipe. Curdling usually happens because the eggs are not at room temperature: if they’re too cold when mixed with the butter, they might make the batter curdle. Don’t worry, though: even if that happens and the flour doesn’t fix the curdle, you can bake the cake and still get a delicious result.
After removing the cake from the oven, immediately flip it onto a flat serving plate. Let it sit for no longer than 15 minutes, then flip it back using a plate or cutting board, and put it on a wire rack to cool.
🎂What to serve with it
You can have this cake by itself - it's delicious! But if you want something more, once the cake has completely cooled, fill it with vanilla costard or cream for a delicious milky variation.
This recipe is also amazing with Nutella, whipped mascarpone and jams. Try it with a blackberry jam for a berry twist!
It pairs great with milk, teas and coffees! Here are some drinking suggestions to have along with Cake Paradise:
Storing and freezing
This cake, if stored covered at room temperature and away from sunlight, is good for about 3 to 4 days. After that, it starts to get a bit dry.
You can freeze this cake after baking. Wait for it to cool completely, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store inside a freezer-safe plastic bag. You can freeze it whole, or sliced - I find the second more practical, as I can grab just the amount I’ll eat/serve.
If you tried this Torta Paradiso Recipe, please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
Paradise Cake (Torta Paradiso)
- round pan 7'' or 9''
- ¾ cup butter room temperature
- 2 cups icing sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 4 egg yolks room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- ½ cup potato starch
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Start by preheating the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Using a mixer, high speed, whip butter, sugar and lemon zest for about 15 minutes, until you get a very light, snowy cream.
- In another bowl, add whole eggs, egg yolks and vanilla paste, beating the mixture lightly with a fork.
- Add slowly (using medium speed) the egg mixture. Add ⅕ of it, then add more just after the eggs are fully incorporated. The eggs must be at room temperature to prevent the batter from curdling.
- Batter will be fluffy like the previous creamed mixture, but more yellowish because of the egg yolks.
- In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients: starch, flour, salt and baking powder.
- Start adding the dry mixture in small portions, mixing at low speed and only adding more when the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the batter.
- Butter or line with parchment paper a round baking pan.
- Pour the batter, distributing it evenly. Use a spoon or spatula to even the surface.
- Bake for 40 minutes. When cake is ready, the top should be brown, and a toothpick must come out clean when inserted in the middle.
- After 15 minutes, remove from baking pan, placing it in a cool rack for cake to cool. Top it with icing sugar.
- Wait at least 40 minutes for it to cool before serving.
- Potato starch can be substituted with cornstarch. If using cups, be aware that ½ cup of potato starch equals 80 grams, and ⅔ cup of cornstarch equals 80 grams.
- Vanilla paste can be substituted with vanilla extract, or half the inside of a vanilla pod.