I came across this Italian Christmas Torta at the end of the Christmas holiday last year and although I did make it I never posted it on my blog, well now is the time!
As we get closer to Christmas Ill be posting some of my favorite cookies, cakes and desserts. This torta or cake is a fun dessert to make that requires no baking at all, it can be a nice little project that you can do with the kids and you can get as creative as you want.
The star of the show is a Pandoro cake, you can find them in most supermarkets and Italian markets almost everywhere this time during the holidays. Pandoro is basically Panettone but without the raisins and candied fruits inside, but that rich, eggy, sweet dough remains the same.
Thats why I was drawn to this recipe when I saw it in a one minute video on Chef Club Italia. I kept watching it over and over until I finally got it!
You need a filling for the cake, in the past for my Pandoro Christmas cakes I used a mix of heavy whipped cream with mascarpone and lemon curd folded in. Ive also used the same mix with Amaretto liquor as the flavor mixed in. If you want to make it easy, you can use vanilla or chocolate instant pudding with whipped cream and mascarpone folded in as well, or even a traditional tiramisu filling.
For this recipe and because it was my first try I used a box of instant vanilla mousse and folded it in the mixture of whipping cream and mascarpone. I like using the combination of the two because the mascarpone helps to stiffen and stabilize the whipped cream so it doesnt get runny.
The next thing youll need is an image for the top of the Italian Christmas Torta, you can either draw it freehand on paper or find an image on the Internet and print it out as I did. I picked a star but you can do a Christmas tree, a bell, snowman whatever you like, thats the creative part.
Youll be slicing the Pandoro horizontally and placing it on the bottom of an eight or nine inch spring form pan, which ever it fits in best. Make sure to use the biggest slice of the whole cake on the bottom of the pan.
Each slice you use, ( a total of three for the whole cake) should be brushed with either a liquor of some sort, like limoncello if using a lemon filling, Amaretto, espresso, or just a simple syrup to make it kid friendly, but its important that each layer be brushed to moisten and flavor it.
The other two slices will be cut on a diagonal and that will be for the sides of the cake, again brushing them before fitting them into the pan.
So again in total youll need three slices cut about one inch thick, the biggest for the bottom and the next two biggest for the sides.
I used some of the leftover Pandoro and stuffed it into the spaces that are between the side and bottom, as shown in the previous photo.
Next you take the cream filling that has been whipped up and mixed together and spoon it in until you reach the top of the cake.
Now place the cut out image of your choice and place it on top of the cream then sprinkle cocoa powder liberally all over it.
Then find an edge of your design and lift it off gently starting it with the tip of a knife to help lift it up, you should see the image perfectly!
When you lift it off and the design shows you can now decorate it even more with sprinkles or whatever else you choose or leave it as is.
This cake is best made the day before, which is nice prep for a party and because it has to be refrigerated well overnight. So cover the top with tented foil and stick it in the fridge to chill and meld together. You can also wait till the morning of to place your image and cocoa powder on, that works also.
The next day you can pop the spring on the pan and remove the band and cut the cake into wedges to serve, by then it will be all melded together.
Another fun, no bake Italian Christmas Torta to make this holiday season, Ill be making it again this year, I hope you give it a try!
- 8 or 9 inch spring form pan
- 1 cut out design for top of cake ( refer to blog post )
- 1 large box of Pandoro, Italian cake
- 3 large 1 inch slices of Pandoro sliced horizontally, one will be kept whole and the other two will be cut on the diagonal for the sides.
- 1 envelope of vanilla instant mousse, made according to directions. ( there are other variations you can use, refer to blog post)
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup mascarpone, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons, powdered sugar to sweeten the cream
- simple syrup, Amaretto, Limoncello, espresso to moisten the cut slices of pandoro, ( refer to blog post for ideas)
- cocoa powder for dusting and garnish
- additional sprinkles if needed
- Make three 1 inch Horizontal slices on the Pandoro
- Take the largest slice and lay it in the pan.
- Brush and moisten the slice with liquor or simple syrup.
- Slice the other two pieces diagonally as shown in blog post, make sure to moisten them as well.
- With point facing down place them around the sides of the cake, they will fit between the points of the bottom layer.
- Fill in the open spaces with remaining Pandoro.
- Make mousse or pudding according to package and set aside.
- Whip the cream with the mascarpone until stiff, then fold in some of the mousse, you might not use it all, make sure the mixture still keeps shape and not be runny.
- You can also add flavoring at this point if you like, any liquor or espresso, taste to your liking.
- Fill the prepared cake to the top with the cream mixture.
- Add your cut out image by placing it on top of the cream and sprinkle liberally with cocoa powder.
- ( you can do the image placing the next day after you've refrigerated it if you prefer, it doesn't matter)
- Please make this a day ahead of time so you can refrigerate it overnight.
- Gently remove the image after dusting of cocoa powder and if need be add a few sprinkles of your choice.
- Slice in wedges and serve.