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Easy Italian Christmas Zuccotto Cake

Indulge in the sweet tradition of Italy with this delightful zuccotto cake, a perfect treat to savor after dinner. With just nine ingredients, including pound loaf, mascarpone cheese, and rich chocolate, this easy Italian dessert is a joy to prepare. The vibrant multicolour sprinkles add a playful touch, making it a standout among classic Italian Christmas desserts. This delectable cake combines the tender sponge of pound cake with the creamy softness of mascarpone, all infused with the deep flavors of chocolate and amaretto liqueur. A family favorite for generations, this zuccotto recipe is sure to become a beloved tradition in your household as well.

How to Make the Best Zuccotto Recipe

Transform your pound cake into a stunning Dome of Florence-inspired dessert by creatively arranging the cake into a starburst pattern within a prepared bowl. Reserve any excess cake for later use. Next, infuse the cake triangles with amaretto liqueur or syrup, followed by a rich chocolate mixture featuring melted dark chocolate, whipped cream, and grated chocolate or mini chocolate chips. Spread this decadent topping evenly over the cake. In another bowl, whip heavy cream with powdered sugar to stiff peaks. Then, fold in mascarpone cheese, powdered sugar, and a splash of amaretto liqueur until firm peaks form. Reserve a small portion of the mixture for later use. Combine the remaining mascarpone mixture with sprinkles. Fill the cake with this sweet filling, followed by arranging any remaining cake triangles to create a sponge cake layer on top. Brush amaretto liqueur over the top, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the masterpiece for several hours to set. When ready to serve, invert the cake onto a plate or board, discard the plastic wrap, and dust the bottom (formerly the sides) with cocoa powder. Finally, pipe the reserved mascarpone mixture on top and present your Dome of Florence-inspired dessert.

Zuccotto Recipe Facts

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The creamy Italian dessert cake known as zuccotto has a fascinating history. Invented by Bernardo Buontalenti, the same genius who created ice cream, it was originally crafted for a Medici family banquet. The name ‘zucca’ is dual-purpose in Italy, translating to both pumpkin and head – fittingly, given the cake’s distinctive dome shape. While there are various recipes and interpretations, the traditional zuccotto form remains constant. This recipe stands out as one of the best iterations.As a holiday treat, this spongy Italian dessert with its rich chocolate cream, amaretto-soaked cake triangles, and sweet mascarpone mixture is sure to impress. The beauty of zuccotto lies in its ability to be prepared ahead of time and refrigerated until serving, making it an ideal choice for special occasions. When paired with other show-stopping desserts like Baked Alaska, zuccotto’s wow factor is undeniable.

Zuccotto Recipe Variations

When substituting amaretto liqueur, consider alternatives like cherry brandy and Grand Marnier. Both options can provide a similar depth of flavor to your recipe.

Easy Italian Christmas Zuccotto Cake FAQs

When storing this traditional zuccotto recipe, it’s ideal to serve it fresh the same day you prepare it, as the sprinkles tend to bleed and lose their vibrant colors if kept for too long. Although this doesn’t impact the flavor, it does affect the visual appeal of the dessert. As for the mould or bowl used in making this creamy Italian treat, a glass bowl is a suitable option or consider investing in a dedicated zuccotto mould, as you’ll likely want to make this delightful dessert multiple times.

Easy Italian Christmas Zuccotto Cake Recipe

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Easy Italian Christmas Zuccotto Cake

Italian desserts, like the classic zuccotto cake, are a perfect way to cap off a festive evening. This beloved Italian dessert combines the richness of pound loaf pound cake with the creamy indulgence of mascarpone cheese, dark chocolate, and other delectable ingredients. With its simple yet elegant preparation process, you’ll find yourself falling in love with this Italian liqueur-infused delight. The entire process, from start to finish, takes a mere 4 hours and 35 minutes, yielding 10 generous servings that are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth.


To assemble the trifle, begin by cutting the pound cake into ⅓” to ½” slices, then cut each piece in half diagonally from corner to corner to create long triangles. Line a 1 ½ or 2 quart bowl with plastic wrap, and then arrange the pound cake triangles inside the bowl in a design of your choice, making sure to fit them together tightly without any gaps. You should have some leftover pieces that you’ll use later. Next, brush the lining of pound cake with Amaretto.In a separate bowl, melt the dark chocolate chips in the microwave until smooth. Let it cool for a few minutes before proceeding. Meanwhile, whip 1 cup of heavy cream to stiff peaks. Once the chocolate has cooled slightly, fold ⋂ of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until well combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and continue folding until fully incorporated.Grate or shave 3oz of dark chocolate bar into the chocolate mousse mixture and fold it in. Spread the chocolate mousse over the pound cake lining the bowl, then refrigerate while you work on the next filling. Next, whip the remaining 1 ⋂ cups of heavy cream with ⋃ cup of powdered sugar to very soft peaks. Set this aside for now.In another bowl, whip the 8oz of mascarpone cheese with the remaining ⋃ cup of powdered sugar and 2 tablespoons of Amaretto until stiff peaks form. Reserve about ⋂ to ⋄ cup of this whipped cream for decorating later. Fold 2 tablespoons of Christmas sprinkles into the mascarpone whipped cream, being gentle not to over-mix and prevent color bleeding.Take the cake out of the fridge and fill it almost to the top with the mascarpone whipped cream. Use the remaining pound cake triangles to cover the top of the cream, closing off the filling. Brush the top of the pound cake with Amaretto. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.When ready to serve, remove the plastic wrap and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Carefully remove any remaining plastic wrap from the bowl. Lightly sift cocoa powder over the exterior of the cake. Pipe the reserved mascarpone whipped cream in a circle around the top of the cake dome. Shave the remaining chocolate bar and fill the inside of the whipped cream circle with the chocolate shavings. Sprinkle additional Christmas sprinkles on top.