18 Cakes that Come from Italy

The emphasis on natural tastes is what distinguishes Italian sweets. There will be no heavy frostings or fillings, only fresh tastes and just enough sweetness to satisfy your demands.

Of course, they like some delectable dairy products, such as ricotta and mascarpone, which provide a delightful tang to their creamy recipes.

18 Cakes that Come from Italy

Here are some Italian traditional cakes that you can try to make at home. These recipes vary in difficulty though as some Italian cakes are quite difficult to make such as panettone and semifreddo. 

You can start off with some easier cakes before building your way up to more challenging ones so that you can enjoy the full spectrum of traditional Italian cakes!

1. Panettone

Panettone, derived from the Italian panetto, meaning tiny cake, is a big fruity enriched sweet bread traditionally served around Christmas across Italy and in Italian communities around the world (for more Italian Christmas desserts, read here).

It is a huge, dome-shaped yeast-leavened cake that originated in Milan. It has a light and airy texture, but a rich and buttery flavor that is not too sweet.

Unfortunately, making it at home may be time-consuming. It takes a long time to rise since it is a cross between sweet bread and a cake, and it is normally a multi-day procedure. Not to add that it is typically hung upside down to cool.

2. Genoese Sponge

This is an Italian sponge cake named for Genoa and related with both Italian and French cuisine.

To produce volume, air is suspended in the batter during mixing rather than employing chemical leavening.

It’s made using eggs, sugar, flour, a little butter, and no baking powder.

A cake that is particularly adaptable since it may be served alone with jam or cream or as a foundation for other dishes.

The light sponge cake can easily be transformed into a layer cake. Simply cut it in half and soak the bottom layer in sugar syrup.

3. Pastiera Napoletana

The pastiera Napoletana, which originated in Naples, has become a strong favorite across Italy during the Easter season.

It is considered an Easter dessert because it has significant symbolic significance associated with nature’s rebirth.

The cake, which is bright yellow in color, gets its distinct flavor from a combination of cinnamon, vanilla, orange peel, and orange blossom water.

Pastiera Napoletana’s spicy filling is typically made with cooked wheat grains known in Italy as grano cotto.

Making a pastiera Napoletana used to be a week-long undertaking before Easter Sunday, with the wheat grains soaking for several days prior to being cooked. Instead, many Italians now buy pre-cooked grano cotto.

4. Italian Rum Cake

Rum cakes are popular in both Italian American and Italian bakeries and are ideal for special events such as birthdays and other celebrations.

Pan di Spagna, which translates to bread of Spain, is a an light sponge cake moistened with a rum soak, filled with layers of cream — vanilla, chocolate, or a mixture of the two — coated in whipped cream, and topped slivered almonds and other types of nuts.

5. Zuccotto

A dish known as a “zuccotto” is a domed-shaped dessert made of cake that has been soaked in liqueur and is filled with ice cream.

Zuccotto can be produced in a variety of ways; some use lady fingers while others use whipped cream or ricotta.

It is a well-known, traditional Italian dish that comes from Florence. It’s a spoon dessert that is elegant in its simplicity and tasty for the harmony of its ingredients.

Actually, only the sponge cake has to be cooked for this dessert; the remaining components can simply be put together to create the Zuccotto without further cooking.

6. Almond Ricotta Cake

The ultimate Italian dessert is Italian Almond Ricotta Cake. With ricotta cheese and almond essence, this dish is rich in flavor and so easy to create.

This rich, flavorful cake is perfect for nibbling or taking center stage on your dessert buffet if you’re searching for an Italian treat.

Because it is produced with almond flour, it is naturally gluten free.

7. Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This straightforward cake made with Italian lemon olive oil is loaded with luscious fruity taste.

This light and soft cake, which is made with lemon juice and zest, is topped with powdered sugar and fresh berries.

Italian cookery frequently includes olive oil as an ingredient in desserts. You just can’t achieve the additional moistness and rich fruity taste with butter alone.

A great light dessert for any time of year, Italian olive oil cake is served with fresh berries and coated with powdered sugar.

8. Torta Sbrisolona

The tora sbrisolona (also known as sbrisonlona cake) is more akin to a large cookie with a texture that falls in between ideal shortbread and the greatest crumb topping you can imagine.

The beautiful texture of the cookie is partly due to the use of almond flour and cornmeal; the remaining portion is a result of the method.

9. Italian Hazelnut Cake

Torta di nocciole, a famous cake from the Langhe area of southern Piedmont, is made with hazelnuts. Indeed, this region is renowned for its outstanding hazelnuts.

Locals offer it after a meal with a glass of Moscato and a dollop of alcoholic zabaglione.

made only with hazelnuts, sugar, eggs, and butter. Some variations add a teaspoon of cacao to the mixture, while others thicken it with flour.

Although these ingredients are rather unconventional, they don’t really change the overall flavor of the cake, which is really excellent.

10. Italian Apple Pie

Olive oil, lemon, and both chopped and grated apple are used to make the delicious and tasty Italian apple cake.

This classic Italian cake tastes great for breakfast, a snack during the day, or as a dessert (for more delicious Italian breakfast ideas, read here).

You’ll realize after just one mouthful that this Italian apple cake is ideal for just about every celebration.

Icing sugar should be sprinkled on top. Serve warm with a generous serving of ice cream or cream.

11. Panforte

Delicious Sienese panforte is an Italian fruit cake prepared with honey, almonds, and candied fruit. The ideal Christmas cake to enjoy with loved ones.

When you bite into panforte, you can immediately taste Christmas thanks to the exquisite blend of almonds, candied fruit, and warming spices.

Although it is easy to create, line the base with rice paper if you have some. The rice paper will make it simpler to remove the cake from the tin because it is fairly sticky on the bottom.

Simply use extra baking paper as a base liner if you don’t have any rice paper on hand.

12. Tiramisu

Tiramisu, one of Italy’s most well-known desserts, is a delicate, rich layering of ladyfingers, a light sponge cake-like biscuit, cocoa and intense espresso, creamy mascarpone, and sweet Marsala wine.

The ladyfingers, which are essentially traditional Italian sweets, are softened by being momentarily dipped in an espresso and sugar solution.

Mascarpone cheese and zabaione, also known as zabaglione, a classic custard made with Marsala wine, sugar, and egg are combined to make a creamy filling and are then piled on top of these.

13. Espresso Martini Tiramisu

To prepare this simple dessert, no prior cooking experience is necessary.

Simply layer coffee- and vodka-flavored mascarpone cream on top of sponge fingers, then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Anyone who tastes it immediately falls in love with this creamy, silky delicacy.

In this easy-to-make dessert, coffee-soaked ladyfingers are covered in layers of creamy mascarpone.

Everyone enjoys the exquisite and cozy dessert known as tiramisu.

14. Italian Sponge Cake

It falls under the group of whipped doughs that don’t need yeast. The eggs need to be whisked for a very long period to integrate a lot of air.

This will help the sponge cake rise without the use of yeast, along with the water vapor created while cooking.

Italian sponge cake may be made using a variety of techniques, much like many other classic recipes.

Others make the combination cold, while still others separate the egg whites and yolks before processing them separately.

15. Chocolate And Hazelnut Meringue Semifreddo

The Italian word semifreddo means “half-cold” or “half-frozen.” Although it is officially a frozen dish, it nonetheless has a softer consistency than ice cream.

It is baked in a loaf pan, frozen, and then unmolded to be served rather than scooped, unlike regular ice cream, which needs an ice-cream churner.

It’s a classy Italian frozen delicacy that combines ice cream and gelato into one delectable serving.

This semifreddo has a mousse-like texture and is thick, creamy, and opulent. It certainly is a show-stopper, chock full of chocolate and topped with toasted hazelnuts.

16. Italian Breakfast Cake

Ciambella is an Italian circular cake that is produced from very basic ingredients. It is sort of like the bundt cake of Italy.

The term “ciambella” has evolved to refer to any ring-shaped dough.

In practically every area of Italy, you may find ciambella in a variety of shapes, from a thick braided dough to a smaller, doughnut-style variation.

Traditionally, it was flavored with straightforward flavors like honey, lemon, or in this example, orange.

Nowadays, however, you can discover a wide variety of flavors, including ricotta, chocolate, and vanilla.

17. Cannoli Pound Cake

If you’ve never tasted pound cake, it is a cake that is typically created with a pound of each of the following ingredients: flour, butter, sugar, and eggs.

Although this recipe doesn’t exactly follow the traditional measures, you’ll still adore the somewhat thick and moist feel it possesses.

All of your favorite cannoli tastes, including pistachios, orange zest, chocolate chips, and ricotta cheese, are used to make this moist and delicious cake.

The best thing is that it requires far less effort than traditionally filling and frying cannolis.

18. Sicilian Whole Orange Cake

Italy’s Sicily is where this cake is said to have its origins. There are plenty of oranges in the winter, especially red blood types, and this is a great way to consume one entire one.

Just be aware that this cake has a different texture than a standard American cake; it’s designed to be thicker and denser.

The top of the entire orange cake is covered with a gorgeous glaze prepared with orange juice.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Most Popular Traditional Italian Dessert?

One of Italy’s most recognizable sweets, tiramisu consistently ranks at the top of Google searches for the most well-liked Italian desserts.

From North to South, both kids and adults like it. It is a classic that has been translated into at least 23 languages and is served in restaurants all over the world. It is well-known over the border and beloved by visitors to Italy.

Is Panettone A Cake Or Bread?

A huge fruity enriched sweet bread known as panettone, from the Italian panetto meaning tiny cake, is traditionally served during the Christmas season in Italian communities all over the world.

It is a substantial, yeast-leavened cake that has its origins in Milan.


Cakes may be found in every country on the planet, but in Italy, they are a genuine art form.

Many of the country’s best bakes are rooted in history and are often rich with almonds, ricotta, chocolate, and dried fruits.

Our selection of Italian cake recipes includes everything from traditional and regional to modern and sophisticated.

Easter is a major occasion in Italy, and bakers will prepare time-honored delicacies like Pastiera Napoletana to mark it.

Tortas are flatter, denser cakes that are rich in flavor and quite delicious. Try making a Torta di nocciole (stuffed with hazelnuts).

18 Cakes that Come from Italy

18 Cakes that Come from Italy

Recipe by Jenna

Do you want to try some traditional Italian cakes? Here are 18 cakes that were created in Italy and are still very popular to this day. From tiramisu to Cannoli pound cake, you’ll love these cakes.

Course: Dessert
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