Greek Sponge Cake (Pantespani)

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  • Total: 75 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings

In Greek: παντεσπάνι, pronounced pahn-deh-SPAH-nee

This is a traditional recipe for Pantespani, a light sponge cake, soaked in a light syrup. It can be served as is, with toppings, and without the syrup as any other sponge cake. The tastes of orange, cloves, and cinnamon give it a lovely taste and fabulous aroma. The recipe is easy and calls for self-rising flour.

While syrup cake recipes may be found all around the world, this Greek cake is sure to treat!


  • 6 eggs (separated)
  • 2 cups of sugar (granulated)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 cups of flour (self-rising)
  • 3 tablespoons of orange peel (grated)
  • 2/3 cup of water
  • margarine or cooking spray (for greasing)
  • flour (for dusting)
  • 3 cups of water
  • 1 cup of sugar (granulated)
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy
  • 1 orange (juice of)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a saucepan, combine all syrup ingredients except the orange juice and brandy, and bring to a boil. Boil for 7 to 8 minutes. Stir in orange juice and brandy, remove from heat, and allow to cool.

  3. Preheat oven to 340 F/170 C.

  4. Beat egg whites, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the salt to stiff peak stage.

  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining 1 1/2 cups of sugar, and slowly beat in all remaining ingredients. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, and when all ingredients have mixed in, beat for 3 to 4 minutes.

  6. With a spatula, gently fold in the egg whites until well blended.

  7. Lightly grease bottom and sides of a 15 3/4 x 12 inch (or equivalent) pan with the margarine, dust with flour, and transfer cake batter to the pan.

  8. Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle comes out dry. The top should be a dark gold color.  


    Do not open the oven during baking except to test for doneness.

  9. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, cut into squares or diamonds. Discard the cloves and cinnamon stick and pour the cooled syrup evenly over the top. Allow to cool and absorb the syrup before serving.

  10. Enjoy!

Recipe Variations

Pantespani is delightful as a base for a variety of toppings, including whipped cream and strawberries (similar to strawberry shortcake), with some toasted almonds, or other toppings of your choice. It can be served with or without the syrup.


Greek cakes are baked in pans that are often larger than baking pans used in other countries. The 15 3/4 X 12-inch pan may be available in your market as a roasting pan.

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