Sandy Cake
Torta Sabbiosa

serves: 8-12

Sabbiosa means "sandy" and that's a good description of this delightful cake. At first bite, it seems dry but then it melts in your mouth and you will love its golden hue as well. The cake can be enjoyed plain or simply dusted with confectioners' sugar; or doused with amaretto or limoncello and a topping of cream and/or fruit and berries . Serve it warm right from the oven; freeze it to pull out when unexpected guests drop in-or (as I do) have a piece for breakfast with cappuccino. All in all this is a recipe you need to try.

⅔ cup finely milled corn flour, (not corn meal or polenta)
7 ounces soft butter, plus more for the cake pan
¼ cup potato starch
¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for the cake pan
1 teaspoon active dry yeast, (1/2 packet)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, separated
⅛ teaspoon salt
powdered sugar, for dusting the cake, or other toppings (optional)

recommended equipment
Standing electric mixer with the paddle attachment;


Butter the cake pan bottom, cover it with a parchment circle, then butter and flour the entire inside of the pan. Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°.

Sift together the corn flour, white flour, and potato starch.

Sprinkle yeast over 1/4 cup of warm water and let it dissolve.

In the bowl of the mixer, cream together the sugar and butter for several minutes on high speed, scraping down the bowl several times, until light and smooth.

Beat in the egg yolks one at a time; scrape down the bowl and fluff up the batter on high speed. Lower the speed and incorporate the dry ingredients, alternating with the yeast water, in two or three additions. Mix only briefly after adding the flours but scrape the bowl and beaters well and fold the batter over with a rubber spatula-it will be stiff-to be sure the dry ingredients are evenly moistened.

With the whisk attachment or a hand whisk, whip the egg whites in a clean bowl, with the pinch of salt, to firm peaks. Stir in 1/3 of the whites to lighten the batter then gently fold in the remainder. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it in an even layer.

Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown and springs back to the touch, and the cake is starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Let it cool on a wire rack for an hour, then remove from the pan. Cut the cake in wedges and serve warm or at room temperature (or reheated in a low oven if you like) plain or fancy. (Wrap well and freeze for a month or so; defrost at room temperature before removing the wrappings.)