Two-toned Zuccotto

What could be better than ice-cream cake? Italian Ice Cream cake! This domed dessert is made with Italian sponge cake which has been cut into slices to line a bowl that is then filled with ice-cream, candied fruits and nuts.

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Start by making the sponge cake:

  • 1 cup cake flour (I use Pillsbury Softasilk)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 large eggs, separated (room temperature)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 tsp finely grated lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and line a 10″ round springform pan with parchment paper.

Sift flour and salt into a bowl.

Beat the egg yolks, lemon zest and sugar on high speed until pale and thick.

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.

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Use a rubber spatula to gradually fold the dry ingredients into the egg yolks. Be sure to fold them in thoroughly. In sponge cake, if flour is not folded thoroughly, you will end up with small “flour nuts” in your cake. Pockets of flour can hide, so fold but don’t over mix.

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Now carefully fold the egg whites into the yolk mix. Don’t over mix or beat, just keep folding. It takes a minute but it will blend. Don’t over fold – you want to keep those beautiful, light air pockets in tact!

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Quickly spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-45 minutes. The cake will rise, separate from the sides and turn golden.

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Cool in the pan for 5, then release the sides. Invert onto a cooling rack to remove the bottom of the pan. Let cool completely.

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Cut a thin slice off the bottom of the cake to use for the zuccotto base.

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Use a serrated bread knife to cut the cake into 1/4″ slices.

DSC_0195_2315 copyLine a domed bowl with aluminum foil. I used a 9″ bowl, but the recipe calls for a 1.5 liter 1 1/2 qt). Briefly soak each slice in rum (Italian recipe) or a sugar syrup before lining the bowl with cake slices.

DSC_0196_2316 copyFor the filling, you’ll need:

  • 4 oz dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp instant coffee or espresso granuales
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped candied fruits (I used candied cantaloupe and papaya spears)
  • 1/2 chopped almonds (I used hazelnuts)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate, 2 tbsp rum, and coffee over a bain marie. Set aside to cool.

Whip 1 1/2 cup heavy cream with the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until stiff.  Combine with the chocolate to make chocolate cream.

DSC_0185_2338 copyFold the candied fruits and nuts into the remaining cream.

DSC_0187_2342 copyLayer the chocolate cream into the cake lined bowl.

DSC_0198_2318 copyAt this point, I realized my bowl was too deep for the amount of ingredients I had. I decided to create a third layer of filling so I whipped an additional 3/4 cup whipping cream with some mascarpone and cinnamon. The slightly bitter cinnamon offers a subtle transition between layers. I topped it with chopped hazelnuts to form a line of demarcation between the cream layers.

DSC_0199_2319 copyFinally, pour in the fruit/nut/cream mix.

DSC_0200_2320 copyFrom the cake bottom we sliced off originally, cut a circle to fit the zuccotto base and insert.

DSC_0201_2321 copyTrim the sides flush. Lay a piece of parchment on top and freeze for 12 hours or overnight.

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Once frozen, invert the zuccotto onto a plate and remove the foil. Beat the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream until stiff and use to ice the cake. Dust gently with the cocoa powder for color. I also dusted with some matcha for color. Enjoy!

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DSC_0239_2352 copyA special thanks to Rick and Eileen for making the rest of our “chocolate-themed” dinner a huge success!

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