Grandma’s Italian Cream-Filled Sponge Cake

My childhood summers were spent eating Grandma’s sponge cake: She would always serve it chilled, and the cold Italian cream was especially refreshing in the hot summer air. Grandma, of course, wanted nothing more than to see me eat, and she found great success with this cake.

She also insisted that I help her make the cake, which came with no complaints from me. I wanted to be in the kitchen at all times as a kid, which has served me well as an adult. Before she passed, Grandma handed her recipe down to me on a scribbled, stained note card. Over the years, I have slowly tweaked and—sorry, Grandma!—improved it. This cake is extremely versatile, a true recipe hero.

There are three ways I love to top it: Mixed berries tend to be my favorite, and really shine in the summer. Toasted coconut is another winner. Or try a shake of confectioners’ sugar with a scattering of roasted pistachios. All versions should be served with a big dollop of whipped cream—Grandma wouldn’t have had it any other way!

This recipe was developed for Food52, and the entire recipe can be found here.

You can watch me make this recipe on the Food52 Youtube Channel here:


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