Make Giada De Laurentiis' luscious zuccotto, a frozen cake with a whipped chocolate filling

When temperatures are climbing, turn to the freezer instead of the oven for dessert

Published June 16, 2021 4:00PM (EDT)

Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Giada De Laurentiis (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

If you're looking for a light dessert that doesn't require turning on the oven, look no further than Giada De Laurentiis' zuccotto, a semi-frozen cake with a luscious whipped filling. 

The cake is made by lining a large bowl with plastic wrap and thin slices of store-bought pound cake. The center is then packed with a simple chocolate mousse, sweetened whipped cream and sliced. After freezing for several hours, the cake is turned out of the bowl where it maintains a beautiful round shape. It is widely believed that the cake originated in 16th century Florence and its appearance was made to resemble the dome of the famous Florence Cathedral.

The zuccotto takes about 3.5 hours from start to finish, but the majority of that time is spent waiting for it to chill — perfect for lazy summer days. And while the finished product looks really elegant, especially after a final sprinkle of cocoa powder, you don't need any special baking tools. Just a mixing bowl, a saucepan, some plastic wrap and a hand mixer (or a good whisk) for whipping the cream. 

There are some tips for making better whipped cream. If whipping by hand, place the cream, bowl and whisk in the freezer for at least 20 minutes This makes for a more efficient whipping process because the cold keeps the fat in the cream chilled, which leads to an airier product faster.

Be careful not to whip for too long, as it might turn the cream into butter. (Though If it does, you can simply add another spoonful or two of cream and beat again until the mixture reaches the right consistency.) Also, feel free to substitute whipped ricotta or even ice cream for the zuccotto's center. 

The finished product is chilled, sweet and creamy with a little welcome bitterness from the cocoa powder dusting. Eat it for dessert, serve it for breakfast or share it with friends. The full recipe can be found here, and here is an instructional video


By Chuyan Jiang

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