For the final recipe in my May Cooking The Books Challenge I had to bake something from the Dessert Cakes chapter of Delia’s Cakes. I looked at all the recipes and wanted something different, something I’d not tried before. I kept going back to the Venetian Zabaglione Cake, a recipe I’d originally seen back in Delia’s How To Cook Book Three. This was also to be my fourth and final contribution to the Afternoon Teas down at the Village Hall in my village Open Gardens.
Delia says the cake is “my adaptation of a cake still served in the famous Harry’s Bar in Venice. You can eat it sipping a Bellini cocktail or with coffee at any time of day.” Nearly two years ago I was lucky to go to Venice and the Italian Lakes for my 40th birthday treat. It was so busy that we didn’t go to Harry’s Bar so I never got to sip Bellinis there but I did enjoy a lovely pistachio ice cream from a back street gelateria. It was delicious. But I did enjoy a Bellini on a cafe terrace overlooking the beautiful Lake Como. Since then I’ve never had another Bellini but the memory of that perfect day stays with me all the time!
St Mark’s Square in Venice.
My Bellini cocktail with olives and other nibbles on the side.
So the cake sounded perfect to me, except for one thing. It needed Marsala wine in it and I hadn’t got any. Ages ago I’d bought some to make a tiramisu with, put the remainder in our drinks cabinet. But it ended up being used in other recipes and I wasn’t going to spend loads of money on something I wouldn’t need. Instead I added another Italian liqueur to the recipe, some Amaretto which was extremely strong but tasted fab.
The Zabaglione filling had to be made first and this is how it was started off:
Egg yolks were whisked together, then some sugar was added to the mix.
Then I added to the egg yolks, some flour and the Amaretto and kept whisking.
The mixture was added to a saucepan and heated. I kept on stirring this until it thickened and then transferred it to a dish to cool and set a little. This was a bit like making a custard. I then popped it into the fridge while I baked the actual cake.
Here is the zabaglione mixture in the dish ready to be popped into the fridge.
The cake itself was an all in one vanilla sponge. At this time my phone was on charge so I didn’t take any pictures. It was baked in a 20cm/ 8″ diameter deep and round tin and then cut in half horizontally. This was then left for a couple of hours until the filling and icing was ready to use.
Out came the filling when the cake was ready to decorate. I whipped up the original filling with some double cream.
To decorate the cake, a generous portion was put on top of one half of the cake, the other cake was put on top of it and then I added it to the top and sides. I didn’t read the recipe properly and wondered why there wasn’t enough icing left to decorate the cake. According to the recipe, the remainder just goes on the side of the cake and the top is dusted with icing sugar. I ignored this and spread the icing all over the top as well. No wonder you could see bare cake through the thin layer!
The result, a bit messy but I hoped it would taste fine in the end.
I must admit I had serious doubts about this cake, the Amaretto was very strong and I was worried about whether people would like the taste or enjoy it in the hot weather. I did put a warning note next to the cake about the alcohol content but when I went down to the Village Hall I didn’t see the cake on display. My hubby said he had seen it out earlier on that day, does that mean it had gone? I don’t know. All I hope if it was served was that people enjoyed it!
I did like baking the Zabaglione Cake although it was very fiddly and it would be great to try it with the Marsala in, as it should have been made.
Love Sam xx