Layered Sponge Cake | PIZZA DOLCE


Layered sponge cake recipe known as Pizza Dolce from the region of Abruzzo. Originating back to 1923, this layered sponge cake has evolved over time to become one of the most sought after organic sponge cake desserts in Italy. This layered sponge cake is a sweet mix of sponge layered with almonds, vanilla and chocolate custard topped with coffee icing and super moist thanks to the mix of liquors on every layer. It’s a flavour bomb and should be enjoyed responsibly.

Watch the Pizza Dolce video recipe:

PIZZA DOLCE ABRUZZESE | Layered Sponge Cake made with Almond mix, Chocolate and Italian Custard

layered sponge cake pizza dolce abruzzese


  • 5 farm fresh extra-large eggs
  • 150g white sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • Alchermes
  • Rum
  • Anisette (Anise) Syrup


  • 400g sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1litre (4 cups) Full Cream Milk
  • Half lemon rind
  • Cinnamon stick
  • 1 x Vanilla bean


  • 1 kg organic butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 cups of espresso coffee
  • Toasted crushed hazelnuts


  • 250G sugar
  • 250g almonds (peeled)
  • Vanilla bean
  • Lemon juice
  • Frangelico (Or Amaretto)


  • 3 x medium size mixing bowls
  • Kitchen Aid
  • 1 x medium size saucepan
  • 1 x round baking pan
  • 2 x whisks
  • 1 x large spoon
  • 1 x icing spatula



  1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees celcius (302F).
  2. Mix 5 x eggs with 150g white sugar using a kitchen aid or electric mixer.
  3. Sift in 200g plain flour and fold through using a whisk.
  4. Cover a large cake pan with butter and flour to prevent the cake from sticking to it once it is baking in the oven.
  5. Pour the sponge cake mix into the pan and place this in the oven for around. 2 hours.

sponge cake


  1. Place 400g sugar into a mixing bowl and add 100g of plain flour. Mix using your hands to get rid of any lumps.
  2. Transfer this into a saucepan and add 1 litre of fresh milk and 8 egg yolks. Mix this together really well using a whisk.
  3. Add a slice of lemon rind, then the cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Mix gently, then put your saucepan on the stove at a medium heat and mix continuously using a wooden spoon. It should take between 5-10 minutes to become thick and creamy.
  5. Remove half of the cream from the saucepan and transfer it into a bowl to cool and set.
  6. Add 100g (or more if you like!) of dark chocolate melting buds and mix well. Continue to mix until the cream has changed in colour and then remove it from the stove to cool and set also.


  1. This is a mix of almonds, sugar, pure vanilla, lemon and Amaretto (or Frangelico).


  1. Mix one kilo of room temperature organic butter with 100g of sugar and combine using an electric mixer or a kitchen aid.
  2. Add 2 cups of espresso coffee and continue to mix through.
  3. The icing should start to thicken up. Continue to mix until you are happy with the consistency.


  1. 1. Once the sponge has cooked and cooled, use a large, flat knife to cut the cake into 4 even layers.
  2. 2. Starting with the bottom layer, wet the top of the moist sponge cake with Alchermes, Rum and Anisette syrup. This will help to keep the Pizza Dolce moist.
  3. 3. Spread a generous amount of thick almond mix on top of this layer, making sure to cover all of the base and its edges.
  4. 4. Then, place the next layer of sponge on top of the Pizza Dolce and wet it again, repeating step 2.
  5. 5. Add a generous amount of chocolate pastry cream to the centre of this layer, and then spread it thickly and evenly over the top.
  6. 6. Add the third layer of moist sponge cake to the top and repeat step 3 once again. Then spread the vanilla custard on top – again be as generous as you like!
  7. 7. Add the final layer of sponge on top, and before wetting it through, break a strip of baking paper that you can then wrap around the edge of your cake. This will help the ingredients to stay inside the cake and also infuse all of the flavours together.
  8. 8. Now, repeat step 3, adding a generous amount of the liquors to the top of your pizza dolce layered cake.

pasticceria angelo merlini


    1. Using a flat spatula, scoop up a generous amount of Mocha icing and lather it on top of your Pizza Dolce layered cake. You should use a back and forth motion with your hand to spread the mocha icing evenly over the top.
    2. Sprinkle a liberal amount of crushed hazelnuts over the top of the icing and leave the cake to rest.
    3. Your Pizza Dolce layered sponge cake should rest in the fridge for 24-48hr for best results.
    4. When you eat this cake you will be enjoying a slice of Abruzzo’s history so take a moment to say thanks for this ridiculously yummy TREAT!

VINCENZO’S PLATE TIP: This cake has nothing to do with a pizza except for the fact the colours mirror those on a pizza which is where the name originated!

  1. E-N-J-O-Y!!!

PIZZA DOLCE ABRUZZESE | Layered Sponge Cake made with Almond mix, Chocolate and Italian Custard

layered sponge cake pizza-dolce

E ora si mangia, Vincenzo’s Plate…Enjoy!

This is another famous recipe from Abruzzo: Chitarra alla Teramana

spaghetti meatballs recipe

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