sephardic orange cake recipe pan d'espanya jewish dessert
Photo credit Penny De Los Santos

Sephardic Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe

This iconic cake has been made for generations by the Jews of Spain.

Pan d’Espanya (called pan esponjado in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language derived from Old Spanish) is the iconic orange chiffon cake that has been made for generations by the Jews of Spain,” explains Stella Hanan Cohen. It’s traditionally made to break the Yom Kippur fast and as part of the sweets spread for celebrations like Purim and lifecycle events. But there doesn’t need to be a special occasion to have it, she says. You can serve it as a teatime snack or as a finale to a meal, with berries and lightly whipped cream. 

The delicate, moist cake gets its loft and light texture from whipped egg whites, so take care while you’re working with them: make sure to not get any yolk in the whites and don’t overwhip them. An egg white will have maximum expansion potential if whipped just barely to the firm peak stage; going beyond that, to the point at which the whites are stiff, can mean less volume in your cake.

Special equipment: 10-inch (25 cm) 2-piece tube or angel food cake pan.

Note: Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.

Excerpted from “The Jewish Holiday Table” by Naama Shefi and the Jewish Food Society (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2024. Photographs by Penny De Los Santos.

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sephardic orange cake recipe pan d'espanya jewish dessert
Photo credit Penny De Los Santos

Sephardi Orange Chiffon Cake Recipe

This iconic cake has been made for generations, and while it’s traditionally eaten to break the Yom Kippur fast and on Purim and lifecycle events, you can enjoy it any time.

  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1 10-inch (25 cm) cake 1x


Units Scale
  • 2 cups (235 g) cake flour, sifted
  • 2 heaping tsp baking powder
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200 g) superfine sugar (sometimes called baker’s sugar)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp finely grated orange zest
  • ¾ cup (180 ml) fresh orange juice (from about 3 oranges)
  • 1 tsp orange blossom water
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar (optional)
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Set out a 10-inch (25 cm) tube or angel food cake pan, but do not grease it. Put the cake flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend; set aside. 
  2. Separate the eggs, putting 6 of the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or use a large bowl and a handheld electric mixer); discard the other 2 yolks (or reserve them for another use). Put all 8 egg whites into a small bowl (or another large bowl if you will be using a handheld mixer) and cover with plastic wrap; set aside at room temperature.
  3. Add the superfine sugar to the egg yolks and beat at high speed until pale and creamy, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer to low and beat in the oil, orange zest, orange juice and orange blossom water. With the mixer still on low speed, add the flour mixture, beating only until the batter is combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and set aside. 
  4. Put the egg whites in a clean mixer bowl, attach it to the mixer stand, and fit the mixer with the whisk attachment (or use the handheld mixer with clean beaters). Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the cream of tartar, if using, and continue to beat the egg whites until they hold firm peaks; take care that you don’t beat them to the point of becoming grainy. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.
  5. With a large rubber spatula or a metal spoon, scoop up about one-third of the egg whites and gently fold them into the batter. Continue with the rest of the egg whites, a third at a time, folding gently until just combined with no white streaks remaining. 
  6. Pour the batter into the ungreased tube pan and smooth the surface with a spoon. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40-50 minutes. Immediately invert the cake pan onto a wire rack and let the cake cool completely, about 1½ hours.
  7. To remove the cake from the pan, loosen the edges of the cake by running a long, thin knife around the inside of the pan and the center tube. Gently ease the cake out onto a wire rack and separate the cake from the base of the pan. Flip the cake back upright and lightly dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, if using. Serve right away.


Wrap any leftovers tightly in plastic and store at room temperature.

  • Author: Naama Shefi and Stella Hanan Cohen
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour 30 minutes cooling time
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Holiday

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