Eggless sponge cake

Roberta Pezzella, an innovative recipe and the foundations for health-friendly and vegan pastry-making

16-11-2014
Roberta Pezzella’s eggless sponge cake. She’s

Roberta Pezzella’s eggless sponge cake. She’s a bread maker at Gabriele Bonci’s Panificio Bonci in Via Trionfale 36 in Rome, a volcano of ideas: the laboratory will soon become 300 square metres large. Besides a sandwich shop and a vegetarian pastry shop, a restaurant that will be born in 2015 is currently under evaluation

A reader, Gabriella Boschin, email mgb0912@gmail.com, allergic to eggs, asked us some tips on how to make a good sponge cake without using this ingredient. We forwarded this SOS to Roberta Pezzella, bread maker at Bonci in Rome. She explained her point of view and, in the end, offered the recipe asked by our reader.

I became a vegetarian around one year ago. The choice was driven by my new workplace, where everything is natural, organic and of the highest quality. And by the explosion of food allergies. I decided, together with Gabriele Bonci, to study, to understand. And to design a line of pastry products that everyone can eat, from children with allergies to vegans, to people who simply choose to eat in a healthy way. I attended courses that gave me important foundations to build this project. In a traditional recipe as the one asked by the reader, after all, substituting the ingredient to which one is allergic is not enough. You need to re-create it from scratch.

Daniele Dell’orco from Cacao crudo supplies raw cocoa butter made with Criollo cocoa and coconut sugar

Daniele Dell’orco from Cacao crudo supplies raw cocoa butter made with Criollo cocoa and coconut sugar

At the moment, my biggest satisfaction is given by a vegan croissant, which I’m perfecting. In general, in health-friendly/vegan pastry making the preference goes to organic, non-refined products, starting from sugars. Eggs can be substituted by soy-cream and water, depending on the recipe. Or by an emulsion of water and soy lecithin, to which we can add rice, corn or sunflower oil, always organic and always cold-pressed, so as to obtain a stable emulsion.

As for the choice of flour, again it has to be non-refined and sometimes you need to eliminate wheat. For people with allergies, you can make some excellent short-crust pastry that melts in the palate by using a mix of corn and rice flour. We can substitute the animal fat with some olive oil with a delicate aroma. Or with an emulsion of cocoa butter and oil: playing with their respective temperatures and adding water, one can obtain different textures and create sticks of normal butter or butter for puff pastry (this is why we call it vegetal butter).

Roberta Pezzella and Gabriele Bonci

Roberta Pezzella and Gabriele Bonci

Two more instructions to follow. First, no margarine. Second never stop searching for innovative products. For instance, we’re collaborating with a guy called Daniele Dell’orco, from Cacao crudo. He supplies us raw cocoa butter made with Criollo cocoa and coconut sugar.

Eggless sponge cake

Ingredients
270 g warm water
2 g soy lecithin
60 g seed oil
60 g extra virgin olive oil
200 g spelt malt
20 g chemical yeast
500 g white spelt

Method
In a jug with a hand blender, thoroughly melt the lecithin in water so as not to leave any lumps. Gradually add the oil and create a stable emulsion (as with mayonnaise). In a bowl, whisk the flour and chemical yeast, add the emulsion and the malt, mix until you obtain a smooth mixture, then pour it in a baking tin and cook it in the oven at 180°C for 18-20 minutes.