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How to make Zuccotto - an Italian Ice Cream dessert cake

Updated on October 21, 2010

Zuccotto is a semi-frozen, chilled Italian dessert and is traditionally made in a special pumpkin-shaped mold. Zucotto means ´Little Pumpkin´ in Italian. It’s made of slices of cake and ice cream or chilled whipped cream. This one consists of semi-frozen whipped cream, with chocolate-caramel bits and coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts.

Florence's cathedral
Florence's cathedral


The history of the Zuccotto recipe goes back to the regions of Florence and Tuscany, Italy. Zuccotto means ‘pumpkin’ in the Italian language, due to the fact that the dessert was originally molded into the shape of a pumpkin.

Although the shape is without a doubt similar to that of a pumpkin, it’s also said that the zuccotto form was inspired by the shape of the dome of Florence's cathedral, which explains its concave mold.

There are some regions in Italy that believe the dessert was originally crafted to imitate the shape of the cardinal's skullcap which is called a zucchetto. 

Italian Cuisine

Zuccotto Recipe

Serves 8 to 12


  • ½ All Purpose Pound Cake sliced to ½ inch (1 cm) thick slices
  • ½ cup Apple or Pineapple juice


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • ¾ cup Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 oz (60 gr) or 3 bars Caramel chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped


  • 1 ½ cup whipping cream
  • 5 oz ( 150 gr) cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped


  1. Line a deep round (half-ball) freezer-safe bowl with plastic wrap, leaving some extra wrap hanging out of the sides.
  2. Cut the cake slices diagonally to form triangles and arrange in the bowl to line it, pointed tip will be facing the centre bottom of the bowl. You might need to line the centre with cake piece if the triangles don’t meet in centre of bowl.
  3. Sprinkle little juice over cake slices.
  4. Using electric mixture on medium speed, whip whipping cream till soft, then gradually add icing sugar, then whipping cream powder+ Vanilla extract, and continue mixing till stiff peaks are formed, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Fold in the chopped chocolate+ hazelnut carefully till well combined.
  6. Pour whipping cream mixture over cake in the bowl.
  7. Cover top with rest of cake triangles. Fold over the plastic wrap side to cover the Zuccotto. Keep in freezer for about 4 hours or overnight.
  8. Meanwhile prepare frosting: heat whipping cream till bubble appear on side of pot. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and stir till chocolate is totally melted. Let cool then keep in fridge till cold. Take out of fridge and whip with electric mixer till stiff peaks are formed.
  9. One hour before serving, take out open the plastic wrap and flip the Zuccotto over serving plate and remove the bowl and plastic wrap. Spread frosting over Zuccotto and sprinkle some toasted Hazelnut on top. Keep back in freezer till serving time.
  10. Slice and serve cold.


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    • profile image

      Italian Ice Cream Dessert 

      8 years ago

      I am weak when it comes to ice cream but I do not have any will power when Italian ice cream comes into play. Possibly the best ice cream made is Italian Ice cream!

    • sarmack profile image


      8 years ago from Washington State

      Looks good!


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