Zuccotto is an easy showstopper of a recipe that comes together with just a handful of ingredients. Pound cake is formed around a whipped ricotta and left to set so when you unmold it it makes a beautiful small dome of a cake.
I was reading this book called Cooking by Hand one night and came across a description of a recipe (there are barely any photos in the book) called zuccotto. I liked the name and said it like I was an old Italian man: “zuccccotoo!” V exaggerated, you know?
What is Zuccotto?
It sounded really interesting: a dessert made with slices of poundcake and put into a mold and stuffed with whipped cream. I did some googling and came across this really fun video of this man making his with lady fingers and flavoring the ricotta with amaretto, chocolate, marscapone and nuts and fruit. When he removed it from the bowl, it looked amazing!
I was sold, I made this with poundcake instead of lady fingers and I stuffed it with a few different flavored ricottas.
I ended up using my own pound cake recipe but have tested this with store-bought pound cake and it totally works! So if you’re looking for a crazy shortcut, look no further.
Tips and Tricks:
- If you’re making it with pound cake and wanna go with the all homemade route, you’ll want to bake them up.
- I did this the day before so they were a wee bit drier than they usually are. I ended up brushing the pound cake slices with a bit of rum and sugar mixture to make them more pliable.
- If you have a very mischievous corgi, you may lose the top of your pound cake.
- Yell at the corgi and then keep it moving. It'll be ok.
What can you fill Zuccotto with?
I made three little cakes with three different types of fillings:
1. Ricotta with blood orange curd and hazelnuts.
2. Ricotta with dulce de leche that my friend Hourie brought back from Argentina.
3. Ricotta with sugar and sprinkles.
But you can add all sorts of things. Think chocolate, minced mint leaves and ricotta! Maybe tahini, honey and ricotta. Or lemon zest, sugar and ricotta. The possibilities are endless.
How to make a Zuccotto cake:
- Prep the bowls/molds. You’ll want to line a bowl (or bowls) with plastic wrap.
- Make the Ricotta. Choose whatever flavors/sweeteners you want and mix up the ricotta with the add-ins of your choosing.
- Cut up the poundcake. Slice the poundcake lengthwise. These slices are arranged like so in the lined bowl. You can super psycho with it, making it so lines exist and things are put in ever so carefully, or you can just put them in there and it'll be delicious! (I did it both ways and the just putting slices in there and making it work was way easier and less stressful.)
- Add the Ricotta. Fill each one with the ricotta filling. And then topped with more slices of pound cake.
- Wrap it up to rest. After it's filled, you wrap it REALLY tightly, push it down and stick it in the fridge for at least 8 hours.
- Finally, Unmold. And then...it'll come out and look so beautiful and magical-looking.
I tried dusting it with cocoa but I think I like it without.
- 1 to 2 pound cakes 1 to 2 pound cakes (store-bought or homemade)
- 3 tablespoons rum + 1 tablespoons sugar, whisked together
- ¾ cup ricotta
- 3 tablespoons blood orange curd
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 hazelnuts diced
- ¾ cup ricotta
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon sprinkles
- ¾ cup ricotta
- 2 tablespoons dulce de leche
- Pinch of salt
- Plastic wrap
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder optional
- 1 teaspoon powdered sugar optional
- This is a super loose recipe. The filling amount will vary depending on how big your bowl is. I used three soup-type bowls. Not serving size big. But you could make them that big, but of course you're going to need more filling and more pound cake.
- Start by lining the bowl or bowls with plastic wrap, leaving enough slack so that you can wrap the pound cake at the end.
- Slice the pound cake lengthwise. And then cut those big slices into strips. If the pound cake is a bit dry (you can test this by bending it slightly), you can brush the pound cake strips with a bit of rum and sugar mixture. This will add flavor and pliability.
- Place the strips of pound cake into the bowl, creating whatever design you like. I ended up placing two strips on top of each other creating a X and then cutting the small square that's on top, creating an X that's completely flush to each other. Does this make sense? And then I added other triangles. There's no right way to do this, you just add, slice it up, add, until totally filled.
- Add the ricotta filling and then top it with more slices of pound cake. Wrap the plastic wrap over the "bottom" of the cake and press it. Place it in the fridge to chill for at least 8 hours, ideally overnight. Repeat if you like, making as many as you like!
- When you remove it from the fridge, unwrap it and turn it onto a plate. You may need to give it a few smacks to have it release from the bowl. Remove the plastic wrap and discard. Dust with cocoa powder or powdered sugar, if you like. Garnish with berries, if you like. Slice it up and enjoy.
Did you make this recipe? Let me know on Instagram!
Looking for more desserts? Here are some of my favorites:
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