For the Pan di Spagna:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour or 00
- 1 1/2 cups corn starch
- 2 cups sugar
- 12 large eggs (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
For the Cream:
- 4 1/4 cups milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 3/4 cups corn starch
- 10 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 lemon, peel only
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 cups champagne, prosecco or spumante
- 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
- Make the Pan di Spagna:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a stand mixer mix the eggs, sugar and salt together until ribbons form. This will take about 15-20 minutes minimum.
- In a bowl sift together flour and corn starch 3 times. Sift the dry ingredients on top of the egg and sugar mixture little by little folding it in very carefully. Make sure you do this carefully so you don’t deflate the egg mixture. Fold in the vanilla and Pour into two greased 9 inch spring form pans and bake for 40 minutes or until the center is firm.
- Cool completely.
- Once cooled trim the dark crusts from the top and sides of the cakes.
- Slice one cake into 3 layers about 1/2 inch thick. Slice the other cake into thin strips and slice the strips into small cubes. These will be used to decorate the cake.
- Make the French Cream:
- In a bowl, mix the milk, beaten egg yolks and vanilla.
- In a pot, whisk together all the dry Ingredients.
- Put the pot on the stove at medium heat and add the milk mixture. With a wooden spoon start mixing continuously.
- Add the lemon peel and stir continuously.
- After about 5-7 minutes the mixture will begin to thicken and form a custard.
- Once thickened remove the pot from the flame, remove the lemon peel and continue to stir for another 30 seconds.
- Cool off the custard by spreading it in a shallow baking dish and cover it with plastic wrap, pushing the plastic against the cream. This will prevent a skin from forming. Place the baking dish in the refrigerator or freezer until cooled.
- In a bowl add the heavy cream and powdered sugar and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form.
- Once cooled, add the whipped cream to the custard, reserving about 6 tablespoons. Whip the custard and whipped cream with an electric mixer for a smoother consistency.
- Assemble the Cake:
- Line a glass bowl with plastic wrap. Press the first layer into the bowl and moisten with Champagne.
- Spread a layer of the reserved whipped cream and follow with a layer of French cream. Top with strawberry slices.
- Add the next layer of cake and moisten with Champagne. Spread a layer of French cream and follow with strawberries.
- Add the final layer of cake and moisten with Champagne. Wrap the top of the bowl in plastic wrap and freeze for 2-3 hours.
- Place a plate over the bowl and invert the cake. Unwrap and frost the cake with the remaining French cream.
- Stick the cake cubes all over the cake. Top with sifted confectioners sugar. Chill before serving.