Italian Cakes: The Zuccotto

a zuccotto cake with icing sugar

What Is the Zuccotto Cake?

The zuccotto cake is a traditional Florentine cake, whose origins date back to the Renaissance.  In Florence, the Medici family used to organize big banquets and loved to offer innovative food to impress special guests. The zuccotto cake was created during one of these occasions. Zuccotto was one of the first semi-frozen cakes in Italy. 
The term zuccotto derives from zucca, pumpkin in Italian because its rounded shape resembles the shape of a pumpkin. The pronunciation of zuccotto is zoo-KOHT-toh, the z has the same sound as in pizza, and the sound of the t should be strong.

How to Make Zuccotto

Let's start with the ingredients:

• 500 g of heavy cream
• 6 tbsp of brandy
• 6 tbsp of Cointreau
• 6 tbsp of Maraschino
• 90 g of semisweet cut in thin flakes
• 90 g of semisweet chocolate melted
• 60 g of almonds, toasted and chopped
• 60 g of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
• 90 g of confectioner's sugar
• 450 g of sponge cake
• A pinch of salt
• A round bottomed mould or bowl of 7 inches (ca. 18 cm)


• Cut the sponge cake in slices (not too thin) and each slice diagonally forming 2 triangles.
• Line the tin with aluminium foil.
• Brush one side of the slices with liqueur.
• Place it in the tin with the point in the centre of the tin, putting the side of the slice with the crust by the uncrusted side of the previous one.
• Brush with liqueur.
• Beat the heavy cream with a pinch of salt and confectioner's sugar, add almonds, hazelnuts, chocolate flakes and 1 or 2 tbsp of liqueur.
• Divide this cream into two and add the melted chocolate to one.
• Spread the white cream on the sponge cake slices, leaving a cavity in the centre in which you will pour the cream with the melted chocolate.
• Cover with more sponge cake and liqueur.
• Keep in the refrigerator for 1 night.
Recipe and photography by Luciana Sampogna

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24 January 2023
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