Pane degli Angeli, or Bread of the Angels
Pane degli Angeli is an Italian sponge cake. Despite its angelic name, it is not an angel food cake because it uses egg yolks and whites. This recipe comes from the friend of my cousin in Italy, Elisa. It uses Italian ingredients that may be hard to find here. The following ingredients should be available at an Italian grocery store and liquor store or you can order them online from places like Amazon.
These Italian ingredients are
- 00 flour, doppio zero or double zero flour–This is a finely ground, soft flour. Here, I have pictured farina di grano tenero, which is a soft flour used in pastries and cakes. A substitute in the U.S. would be pastry flour but you can also use all-purpose flour.
- Paneangeli is the brand name of an Italian line of baking products. The Vanillina is a vanilla flavoring.
- The lievito pane degli angeli is a leavening agent like baking powder.
- The Strega liqueur is a liqueur from Benevento, Italy, that is a blend of 70 herbs and spices, some from the local area like mint that grows along the riverside. Created in 1860, it evokes the legends of witchcraft in the region. In Italian, “strega” means witch.
Recipe for Pane degli Angeli
Grease a springform or cake pan and line it with parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper.
In a bowl, mix
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 small (airplane) bottle of Strega liqueur
1 cup corn, safflower, or canola oil
grated peel of one large lemon (My cousin uses Sorrento lemons. Meyer lemons would be the closest thing here in the U.S. Or a regular lemon if you can’t find Meyer lemons.)
grated peel of one large orange
1 small packet of Vanillina
When mixed, slowly add 3 cups of sifted 00 flour. Then add a packet of pane degli angeli sifted. Finally, add the juice of 1 large lemon and 1 large orange.
Put in prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and serve. The Italians eat this for breakfast or dessert, but it can be eaten any time.