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Orange Spanish Chiffon Cake

Pan d’Espanya (pan Esponjado)

About the Recipe

With winter arriving in Zimbabwe, the garden has ripening citrus fruit. This is a perfect time to make Pan d’Espanya, the iconic orange chiffon cake that has been made by the Jews of Spain for generations with the sweet oranges so prolific in Valencia and Andalusia.
This moist, feather light cake is bursting with tangy flavors of freshly squeezed juice and zest of oranges and fragrant with a hint of orange blossom water.
Pan d’Espanya is a delightful teatime treat or an irresistible finale to a meal with berries and dollops of lightly whipped cream. I make it all the time like our mothers did ….it’s a staple at home.


8 large eggs 1 cup caster (superfine) sugar ½ cup vegetable oil ¾ cup fresh orange juice, strained ½ tsp finely grated orange zest 1 tsp orange blossom water 2 cups cake flour, sifted 2 heaped tsp baking powder ⅛ tsp salt ¼ tsp lemon juice

For decorating: confectioner’s (icing) sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC). You will need a 10in (25cm) ungreased chiffon tube pan (without non-stick coating). Position the oven rack at the lowest setting.

Separate the 8 eggs and place 6 egg yolks in a bowl. (Discard 2 egg yolks or use for another recipe). Put the egg whites from all 8 eggs in a large clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap, keeping at room temperature.

In the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the sugar and 6 egg yolks at high speed until pale and creamy and the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.

Stir in the oil, orange juice, orange zest and orange blossom water until well combined. In a separate mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture to the sugar and egg mixture in two lots. Beat until the batter is just combined and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Set aside.

Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, until soft peaks form. Add the lemon juice and continue to beat the egg whites until they hold stiff peaks, about 7 minutes.

Fold the whisked egg whites in three batches with a balloon whisk into the batter with a light and quick hand until just combined and no white streaks remain in the batter. Do not over mix.

Pour the cake batter into the ungreased chiffon cake pan and let the batter spread to fill the pan. Smooth the surface with a spoon.

Bake for 50 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch. Do not open the oven door. Five minutes before the end of baking, insert a skewer into the centre to see that it comes out clean.

Invert the cake tin onto a wire rack. Allow to cool completely inverted in the pan before removing from the pan, about 1 hour. To remove the cake from the pan loosen the outer edges of the cake with a long, thin knife around the inside of the pan and the centre core. Gently ease out the cake onto a wire rack. Serve the cake upside down.

Before serving dust with confectioner’s sugar (optional).

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