Choosing a flour for your favorite recipe can be confusing. Different types of baking flour, such as cake flour, pastry flour, bread flour and self-rising flour, each have distinct qualities that can vary performance in the kitchen.
Branca de Neve flour sets the standard for flours in Portugal, specially when it comes to baking. This flour, which already contains raising agents, is suitable for all culinary uses, from savories to sweets such as cakes, cupcakes, muffins and biscuits, or whenever you want your baking to turn out soft and light.
As Easter is approaching, it is imperative to have Branca de Neve flour in your kitchen. One traditional Easter cake is the Sponge Cake (a.k.a. Portuguese Pão-de-ló), make with Branca de Neve. Here is the recipe for you. You can get Branca de Neve at any Tavora supermarket.
Sponge Cake (Pão-de-ló)
- 9 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 2⁄3 cups of Branca de neve flour
- lemon zest (optional) or orange zest (optional)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional for top of cake)
- icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350°F Grease and parchment paper line a 10 inch tube pan, set aside.
- Beat the eggs with the salt until light. Gradually beat in the sugar at medium speed and beat for at least 20 minutes, add rind if using.
- At low speed, add the flour to the eggs one heaping tablespoon at a time, blending well after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl when necessary.
- Pour the batter into the pan and bake for approximately 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean (cake will spring back to a light touch). If you like a crust on the top of the cake, sprinkle the 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of the batter prior to baking.
- Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and peel off parchment paper. Let cool completely on rack. Dust with icing sugar before serving if desired.