Grandma Italian Spongecake with Dark Rum

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Not too many steps, a easy old fashioned Italian Style Sponge cake, my grandmother made this often...and was her favorite cake, soaked in dark rum.

When I was little grandma and I would occasionally walk to a local bakery to buy miniature rum cakes, they were so good. They had delicious rum pudding filled sponge cakes. That is also a great alternative in making this fresh cake into that special filled pudding rum cake, recipe at the end, ....and it makes an amazing cake! She has long sinced passed in 1975. RIP grandma...and thank you.

At 94 years old grandma still loved her rum soaked sponge cake. Although she loved her homeland and was orginally straight from Rome Italy, she really loved our country, and the 4th of July she knew well and respected this day. She always would make her cake with plenty of fresh fruits and homemade whipped cream. Back in those days they got their heavy cream skimmed off the top of whole milk that was delivered to the house. They actually had a milk man in those days! I can vaguely remember that guy coming over in the early morning to drop it off. But they always were able to make fresh whipped cream off the top,it was awesome! Grandma would pour rum straight onto the cake layers when dad had it around and then top with fruits and cream, what a treat! I thought this would be a perfect light dessert for the 4th of July festive and pretty in her honor! Thanks grandma, everyone is sure to love your recipe.....

Italian Sponge Cake...
Cake Batter
6 eggs separated
6 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch a salt
1 teaspoon lemon flavoring
1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
Dark rum to your preference pour over the bottom layer (optional)
Beat whites until very stiff, set aside.

Beat yolks in a separate bowl until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar, cornstarch, baking powder, salt , sifted flour and flavoring.
Fold in egg whites. Pour into prepared pan.
Pan recommendations:
Use two small 8 inch rounds, or brownie pan for tiramisu do not grease sides of pan just the bottom only. You can also use a tube pan if you just want a plain cake no fillings or topping.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or till brown. Cool. Your cake is now ready for your favorite creation.
Grandma would pour straight rum on the first layer, you can see some of it in the picture above. Then top with fresh fruit of choice her actual favorite was either peaches or pineapple. But this is a special edition for the 4th of July in red, white in blue....

Suggested fruits would be pineapple, peaches, strawberries, blueberry, cherries, red or blackberry, banana or just plain with powdered sugar.......
Cake with a pastry cream filling if you would prefer (grandma's favorite):
Italian Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
3 teaspoons dark rum
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Filling: In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla to a boil . In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated with milk and vanilla. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Using strainer into the saucepan, pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and rum Let cool slightly. Chill at least 2 hours
Fill cake layer. Top with whipped cream.


  1. I love the pictures with the whisk. Looks so good!

  2. looks so fine!a great treat for 4'th of july!

  3. I love all kinds of foam cakes! I shall try using some dark rum to saok the cake next time. It sounds really wonderful.

  4. Oh dear, your the photo grandmother's picture is so tender ^_^ The cake is wonderful and looks so deliciuos. Grandmothers' recipes never wrong. Bye bye :X

  5. The pictures are lovely and the cake looks perfect!

  6. Oh Claudia, I want to use this cake to make that cream filled rum cake like you used to get with Grandma Victoria. That sounds so wonderful. I have a big bottle of aged rum too...

  7. This look delicious!

  8. Oh, this is precious! I'm loving all the photos, wishing the cake was on a plate on my lap! The fruit is even a bonus (and the rum... hehe)

  9. Viciously scrumptious Claudia!!
    Rich and creamy cake - love it :)

    All the best,


  10. Beautiful memories of your Grandma! And a beautiful cake! I bet the rum made it extra special.

  11. Oh man Claudia I can see a bit of Grandma Victoria in your face! And for sure her cooking spirit. What a beautiful photo and wonderful post! Hope you have a Happy 4th ♥ Redkathy

  12. This looks delicious Claudia...I've been looking for a good sponge cake recipe. Will definately give this one a try. Thanks!1

  13. Looks like you're all set for a tasty 4th!!

  14. not just for the 4th... any day is a rum day, right - this just sounds like a wonderful cake, cake wait to try it out too, boy are you keeping me busy,,,,

  15. I love Grandma's glasses and I love her cake. I do remember when the cream rose to the top. And I adore that she continued to love that delicious rum-soaked cake all of her life. My Grandmother was very patriotic on July 4th and kept her American citizenship papers close to her heart.

  16. Thanks for sharing your story. There is nothing like a grandmothers cooking. I have fond memories of my great grandmother all 4'11" of her and the delicious aromas coming from her kitchen. Great recipe!

  17. A great recipe and fantastic pictures! I would love to try this - thanks for sharing your grandmother's recipe!

    Hope you have a great 4th July!

  18. Looks like Grandma had a great recipe for Victoria Sponge! Your cake came out wonderful, the dark run was very nice addition!
    thanks for sharing some memories with of of your grandma.
    Have a safe and happy fourth!

  19. Happy 4th of July! Beautiful cake. My grandmother says that rum is good for the complexion especially with you soak sultanas in rum.

  20. The photo of your grandmother's very nice and tender!!!...mmm...the cake is very good...kiss, Luciana

  21. Loved the cake! Your grandma looks so adorable, she seems like she was the sweetest lady!

  22. I was going though the Foodbuzz posts and realized that I missed this recipe. I need a good sponge recipe and this looks really delicious.


  23. Una sponge cake che é una vera poesia...bravissimissimaaaaa!!!
    Un caro abbraccio e felice week-end!

  24. My parents had Italian sponge cake at their wedding sixty years ago. The bakery that made it has long since closed. I used your recipe to recreate their wedding cake for their anniversary party and it was a huge hit - my dad said it tasted exactly the same, down to the hint of lemon. Molte grazie for making their day!


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