Last updated on February 13th, 2024.

Are you ready to embark on a journey to taste paradise? Look no further than Torta Paradiso! This exquisite Italian dessert is a symphony of flavors, boasting a delicate texture and a heavenly taste that will transport you to bliss with every bite.  for future indulgence. Let’s dive in!

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citrusy italian torta paradiso

What is Torta Paradiso?

Torta Paradiso – an Italian paradise cake, is a classic Italian dessert renowned for its light and fluffy texture. It’s characterized by its moist crumb, subtle hints of citrus, and a delightful aroma that evokes images of sunny Italian landscapes.

The original recipe is still secretly protected by its owner at a bakery in the city of Pavia, northern Italy. I must admit that this cake reminds me of the Ciambellone, a traditional Sunday cake. Both use simple ingredients and have a citrus flavor profile. However, this Torta Paradiso recipe surprises me. It’s light and fluffy like a sponge cake but also tender and buttery like a pound cake. And while it can be on the dry side, it is moist and gets better the next day. It baffles me, but who doesn’t love a simultaneously dry yet moist cake? It’s like a paradoxical dessert experience that keeps you guessing with every bite and returning for more.

If you like Italian desserts and bakes, check out this Italian Hanfover Cake, Italian Grape Cake, and Torta Caprese.

Ingredients

This cake recipe calls for simple ingredients, but the main ingredients might not be available to all. I added alternatives when possible, but changes might alter the final texture. The complete recipe and measurements can be found below on the recipe card. 

  • Unsalted soft butter 
  • Granulated sugar
  • Lemon zest and orange zest. Or choose just one of the two.
  • Large whole eggs at room temperature. I tested this recipe using egg yolks solely, but since they are not as rich in protein that stretches during baking like egg whites, I found that it resulted in a shorter, slightly denser cake. 
  • Vanilla bean paste. Or vanilla extract.
  • ’00’ pizza flour. This type of flour provides a fine crumb and requires less liquid when mixed. Since our water source comes from the eggs, this is the best type of flour for this cake. If you don’t have it, use all-purpose flour, and increase the amount to 1 1/2 cup (180g).
  • Potato starch. Like in this Torta Tenerina, this gives the cake a tender, crumbly texture. I do not recommend replacing it with corn starch.
  • Baking powder
ingredients to make italian paradise cake

How to Make Torta Paradiso

You can make this cake using a stand, an electric mixer, and a large bowl.

  1. Mix the flour, potato starch, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and citrus zest until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each to completely incorporate before adding the next. Mix in the vanilla paste.
  4. Sift the dry ingredients over the butter and egg mixture and mix to incorporate.
  5. Spread the cake batter in a nine-inch pancake line with parchment paper, and bake.
How to make paradise cake
unbaked and baked paradise cake. torta paradiso

Serving Ideas and Variations

  • The traditional recipe is trusted with a generous sift of powdered sugar. Simple, easy, and timeless.
  • Kinder torta del paradiso. Slice the cake horizontally and fill it with milk cream (whipping cream sweetened with sweetened condensed milk to whipping cream). 
  • Homemade whipped cream flavored with brown milk powder for that brown butter flavor.
  • A dollop of Italian pastry cream or lemon curd will balance the sweetness of the cake. 
  • Top the cake with fresh berries or a citrus glaze for a burst of freshness.

Tips

  • Make sure the ingredients are at room temperature. Since this is essentially a pound cake, please take a moment to read my post on Tips For The Perfect Pound Cake. 
  • In this recipe, the ingredients stick to the bottom and sides during the mixing stages, even more so than in another recipe, so make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as you go.
  • Allow the cake to cool in the pan and absorb any moisture it may release during the cooling process. 
  • Don’t overmix the batter to avoid a dense cake.

Storage

While tender and moist, this cake can dry pretty fast, so store it in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days (never in the refrigerator unless it’s topped or frosted). For longer storage, wrap the cake with plastic wrap for up to 3 months.

Bring refrigerated or frozen slices to room temperature before serving.

FAQs

Can I use gluten-free flour in this recipe? 

You can substitute gluten-free all-purpose flour for the regular all-purpose flour to make this cake gluten-free.

Can I make Torta Paradiso ahead of time?

 Absolutely! This cake tastes even better the next day as the flavors have had time to meld together. Because it tends to dry out fast, avoid slicing it before serving and cover it with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Is this a sponge cake?

While this fabulous paradise cake has the texture of an extremely soft sponge cake, it is not a sponge cake. However, there are many versions of this cake that are, in fact, sponge cakes.

More Traditional Cake Recipes You Might Enjoy

Jewish Apple Cake, Karpatka (cream puff cake), Honey Cake

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a five-star review below the recipe. Don’t forget to tag @OneSarcasticBaker on Instagram whenever you bake this recipe. I would love to see your creations!

Torta Paradiso Recipe

Italian soft and tender cake with, light, airy texture and citrusy flavors.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Torta Paradiso
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 10 people
Author Dikla

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Unsalted soft butter (226g)
  • 1 1/4 Cup Sugar (250g)
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon and orange zest (about one lemon and half an orange)
  • 4 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/4 Cup '00' flour (150g)
  • 1/2 Cup Potato starch (75g)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 1/4 Cup Powdered sugar (30g)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F (160C), grease the bottom of one nine-inch pan, and line with parchment paper.

  2. Sift the flour, potato starch, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

  3. In a bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, zest and butter on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

    Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl 2-3 times during the mixing time.

  4. With the mixer on medium-high speed, add the eggs, one at a time, waiting for each egg to fully incorporate before adding the next. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl between each addition.

  5. Mix in the vanilla bean paste.

  6. Stop the mixer, sift the dry ingredients over the butter and egg mixture, then mix on low to fully incorporate.

  7. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bottom of the bowl and make sure there are no unmixed eggs and flour, then evenly spread the batter into the prepared pan.

  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the top of the cake is golden brown and a toothpick comes out dry from the center of the cake. A few moist crumbs are ok.

  9. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely on the pan before inverting it to your serving plate.

  10. Dust with powdered sugar, and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • Do not open the oven’s door mid-baking, or else the cake with the sink at the center.
  • Store the cake covered at room temperature for up to three days. To freeze, wrap the cake with plastic wrap, place it in a plastic bag, and freeze it for up to three months. When ready, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and allow the cake to reach room temperature.
  • Top the cake with whipped cream and berries, or slice it into two layers and fill.
  • The ’00’ flour gives the cake its high volume and tender crumb. But if you don’t have it available, use all-purpose flour (increase it to 1 1/2 cups, 180g).
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