Paradise cake (Torta Paradiso)
- Difficulty: Easy
- Prep time: 25 min
- Cook time: 50 min
- Serving: 8 people
- Cost: Low
- Note + the cooling time
"This cake is paradise!" A famous exclamation by a noblewoman inspired the name of the eponymous cake made by Enrico Vigoni, a 19th century pastry chef from Pavia. This dessert became the symbol of Pavia and is a classic of Italian pastry making. We asked one of the most important Italian Master Pastry Chefs, Sal de Riso, to prepare it for us...or rather, for you! A mix of genuine and quality ingredients, like fresh eggs, untreated lemons and oranges, together with the Bourbon vanilla bean, bring to life a soft and fragrant base that is unmistakably delicious and sweet. What are the golden rules for a fabulous paradise cake? Mix all the ingredients together at the same temperature and alternate the addition of dry and liquid ingredients to the mix, for a dough that will cook to perfection and a cake this is not too airy or compact. Ideal enjoyed alone for a "heavenly" breakfast, sprinkled generously with powdered sugar, it is also a divine dessert when served with a layer of cream and topped with whipped cream, just like our version of lemon heaven cake. Fasten your aprons and get ready to enjoy this heavenly recipe!
- Ingredients for a 9.5 inch (24 cm) mold
- Butter ¾ cup (170 g) - soft
- Powdered sugar 1 cup (170 g)
- Sugar 3 tbsp (40 g)
- Fine salt ¼ tsp (2.5 g)
- Potato starch ½ cup (70 g)
- Powdered yeast for sweets 1 tsp (3 g)
- Flour 00 1 cup (100 g)
- Vanilla bean ½ - Bourbon
- Egg yolks 4 (80 g)
- Eggs 2 (100 g) - whole
- Lemon peel ½
- Orange peel ½
- For sprinkling over the cake
- Powdered sugar to taste
How to prepare Paradise cake (Torta Paradiso)
To prepare paradise cake, start by placing the sieved flour, potato starch and yeast in a bowl 1, then stir thoroughly with a spoon. Place the pieces of softened butter in another bowl, add the pulp of half a vanilla seed 2 and grate the peel of half an untreated lemon 3;
grate the peel of half an untreated orange too 4. Start beating the butter and vanilla with an electric whisk and add the powdered sugar 5. When the mixture becomes light and airy in consistency, add the egg yolks (around 4 medium ones) 6,
then the salt 7, and continue to beat the mixture with the electric whisk, until soft and creamy. Leave to one side and place two whole eggs in another bowl, add the granulated sugar 8; beat with an electric whisk and as soon as the egg and sugar mixture becomes light-colored, smooth and frothy 9,
add it to the butter, sugar and egg yolk mixture; alternate by adding the powders. Now add a little of the egg and sugar mixture 10 and stir thoroughly with a spatula. Add some of the powders 11 and continue to stir. Continue once more by adding some more of the powder to the liquid part, until there is none left 12. Alternating both parts creates a dough with a typically crumbly consistency, which characterizes the paradise cake.
Take a 9.5 inch (24 cm) mold, use a brush to butter it 13, then coat in flour and add the paradise cake mix. Smooth with a spatula 15
for an even surface 16. Bake the paradise cake in a static oven preheated to 340°F (170°C) for around 45-50 minutes (this will depend on your oven; cover the cake with a sheet of aluminum after 30 minutes if you notice it is becoming too dark, and continue to bake). When done (always use the toothpick test to check), remove it from the oven 17 and wait around 20 minute before turning it over onto a serving dish 18.
Delicately remove the mold 19 and leave to cool thoroughly for around 1 hour. Once cooled, sprinkle with the powdered sugar 20 to create a homogeneous layer on the surface. Your paradise cake is ready to be enjoyed 21.
You can store your paradise cake under a glass cake cloche for a couple of days.
It can be frozen, without coating it in powdered sugar.
For a butter-free version...
...replace the butter with oil as follows: emulsify the 4 egg yolks with oil (half the amount of the butter). Once you obtain a sort of mayonnaise, add the sieved powdered sugar and incorporate with the whole eggs previously beaten with the sugar.
For a gluten-free version...
...replace the flour 00 with the same amount of rice flour.
And if you want to fill it...
... for a 9 inch (24 cm) mold, like the one we have used, around 9 oz (250 g) of cream will be enough, perhaps a spreadable cream or a butter cream that keeps for longer at room temperature.