Sandy cake – Bread brake –

On a bit of bread brake, but a lovely friend of mine sent me a recipe for my name sake cake, called the sandy cake. It came from Dolce by Laura Zavan. I am a bit biased but it tasted really nice. It was a bit like if a sablé cookie did the dirty nasty two back monster with a Victoria sponge. Not so much a proper desert cake but something really lovely to have with tea and coffee. You could also dress it up with a lime, cardamon and rose icing or lemon and thyme icing.


Sandy cake -Torta sabbiosa- recipe that I made uses no leavening agent, which I found quite interesting. An amazing post and recipe with baking powder but no vanilla can be found on bread cakes and ales website here with a mascarpone cream. The leavening agents obviously make the cake much more airy. It also seems that the leavening agent is what makes differentiate a torta paradiso from its closely related sister the sandy cake. Although I am not too sure I have found loads of variation on the sandy cake for example some recipe use part potato starch, part cornflour.

Other notes on the ingredients, is you can exchange the vanilla bean for vanilla extract if you finding/affording (it is annoyingly expensive ingredient) a vanilla bean is a bit too much. One vanilla bean = 3 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Another slightly confusing note is that there seem to be a genuine difference between potato starch and flour (one uses just the starch while the other uses the whole potato), but in this recipe you want potato starch. It seem the confusion comes from potato starch is called potato starch flour. Potato starch can be found in Holland and barrets here in the UK. If you can’t find potato starch I think the closest replacement would be cornflour.

Anyways without further faff, You will need a 22-24 cm cake tin.


  • 200 gram soft butter
    • Plus extra for greasing
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 200 gram icing sugar
    • extra for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 grams of all purpose flour
    • plus extra to flour the cake tin
  • 100 gram of potato starch
  • 1 pinch of salt


  1. Leave the butter out at room for the an hour so that the butter should be soft.
  2. preheat the oven to 170ºC.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter+vanilla seeds +icing sugar
  4. whisk the egg separately in a small bowl.
  5. Slowly add the whisked eggs to the cream butter mix until well incorporated.
  6. Sift the flour + potato starch together in a separate bowl before slowly adding to the main mixture.
  7. Finally add salt and mix well. You should have a nice white thick even pasty mix.
  8. With the extra butter grease and flour your cake tin. Pour your batter in and make sure that it evenly distributed.
  9. Bake for 40min or until golden on top and let cool in the tin for an 1 hour.
  10. Remove from the tin and dust with icing sugar or pour your icing.