by Heather Harris Brady

Zuccotto, reputed to be a native of Florence Italy, has grown into a somewhat generic term for a dome-shaped cake. It’s typically lined with slices of sponge cake and from there pretty much anything goes. I’ve filled mine with chocolate mousse and an orange-cream cheese filling because I was thinking of cassata alla siciliana. But improvise here – soak the cake layers in liqueur or espresso, switch up the fillings – no matter how you slice it, this is a pretty, surprisingly easy dessert that makes a big impression at the end of a nice dinner. It’s a great way to welcome in the new year with something sweet – the best way to start!

Zuccotto, Eight servings

One 12 oz. pound or sponge cake

Chocolate mousse:

  • One 3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar (I used Ghiradelli Mango Sunset)
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 c. whipped cream

Orange mousse:

  • Fresh zest from one orange
  • 3 oz. cream cheese
  • 2 T. powdered sugar
  • 2 c. whipped cream
  • 1/2 c. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate glaze:

  • One 3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 1 T. butter
  • 1 t. vanilla

Pistachios for garnish

If you don’t have a hemisphere mold you can use a large mixing bowl, as I did. Line the bowl with plastic wrap and then cover it with 1/8″ thick slices of cake.


Spiral them around the bottom so you will have a pretty top.


And line the sides. Set aside.


Make the chocolate mousse: Heat the butter and water over medium, when the butter’s melted add the chocolate.


Stir smooth.


When the chocolate’s cool but not set, fold in the whipped cream.


Pour it into the cake-lined mold, and make an indentation in the middle. Cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge.


Combine the cream cheese, zest and powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. Beat well for two-three minutes, to get those orange oils mixed in.



Fold in the whipped cream.


Pour it into the mold and smooth it out.


The cover the top with the remaining slices of cake. Put it in the fridge for at least two hours, and preferably overnight.


When you’re ready to finish the cake (at least two hours before serving), make your chocolate glaze. Melt the chocolate over medium with the butter and cream. Stir smooth and add the vanilla. Let the glaze cool to the point where it starts to thicken. Turn the cake out onto a serving plate and trim any overlap off the bottom.


Pour the glaze over the top and sprinkle the pistachios around the bottom.


Once the glaze sets, sprinkle the top with powdered sugar right before serving. It will slice into pretty wedges like so:



And with this recipe we close the book on 2014 and look forward to 2015! Thanks for following!

Two years ago: Frosted Sugar Cookies
One year ago: Chocolate Chestnuts (Bernachon)


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