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Zuppa Inglese #1

Published November 08, 2007        by Nicole

Usually our recipes cover desserts of all kinds (cookies, cakes, brownies, etc.) But today, we're going to offer up something different. Literally means “soup” but is an Italian rum cake covered with custard.


  • 1 qt. milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 8 tbs. sugar
  • 8 tbs. flour
  • 1 grated lemon rind
  • 12 tbs. sweet vermouth
  • 12 tbs. sweet rum
  • 6 tbs. orange marmalade
  • 1 large sponge cake (about 12 inches)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 oz. finely chopped toasted almonds

Plain custard:

Beat egg yolks thoroughly. Blend well in saucepan the milk, eggs, sugar, flour, and salt. Strain through fine sieve to ensure very smooth texture. Grate lemon rind; add this to mixture. Cook over low flame for about 10 minutes or until thick and it starts to boil. Do not boil. Remove from flame. Cool. If chocolate flavor is desired, melt two cubes of bitter chocolate in hot custard. Stir well.

Sponge cake:


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. grated lemon rind
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. water
  • 1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Use large mixing bowl. Sift ½ cup of sugar with flour several times to blend well. Place egg yolks, water, and grated lemon rind in mixing bowl. Beat lightly. Add almond extract. Gradually sift flour very lightly over beaten egg yolks. Fold in gently. Place egg whites in another bowl and beat until foamy. Add salt and balance of sugar; beat until stiff. Gently fold in the stiff egg whites into flour mixture. Pour into 10 or 12 inch ungreased cake pan. Bake in moderate oven 45 minutes, or until cake separates from the sides of the pan. Be careful not to jar cake while baking, as it may become heavy.

When cake is done, invert pan on wire rack for about 1 hour or until cold. Remove from pan.

Slice sponge cake into 3 layers; pour 6 tbs. of vermouth over each of two layers. Spread with thin layer of orange marmalade, then layer of custard. Place third layer over this; pour rum over all. Cover top and sides of cake evenly with thick layer of custard. Sprinkle with finely chopped almonds.

Serves 12 to 14.