The diplomatic cake: one of the most famous Italian desserts

The history and recipe of one of the most famous cakes

In Italy there are some traditional recipes that have spread throughout the peninsula and are available in all the pastry shops. One of the best known is that of the “Diplomatic cake”. Italian Traditions will lead you to the discovery of this traditional dessert starting with its origin. We will present the main distinctive features of this handmade product that belongs to the history of Italian confectionery. We will also explain why the cake bears this name. Finally, we will propose the traditional recipe and the steps for its preparation.

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Its origins

The true origins of the diplomatic cake are not entirely clear. In fact, the Sicilians and the Campanians both claim to be the original creators of the recipe. In reality it seems that the “Torta diplomatica” had been made for the first time in the 1400s by a chef from the Duchy of Parma. The dessert was a gift from a diplomat of the Emilian city to Francesco Sforza Duke of Milan. Over time it spread particularly all over southern Italy. Here, slightly different versions have been proposed. Today it is present in all the Italian confectioneries. It can be found in the form of a cake or even as a miniature pastry.


The main features

The diplomatic cake has some characteristics that distinguish it from other desserts. First of all it consists of two layers of puff pastry. In the middle there is also a layer of sponge cake. In fact, only the first and last layer are puff pastry. The upper one is generally covered with icing sugar.

Another feature of this cake is the fact that the sponge cake before being used must be wet with liqueur.

Why the name?

It is believed that the main reason for the name depends on the fact that in the past it was usually served during diplomatic meetings. These were the Aristocrats who dealt with international negotiations. Another reason can be found in the fact that it is made with the use of crema diplomatica (diplomatic cream) that is obtained by mixing chantilly cream with pasticcera cream (custard cream). This is necessary for the realization of the diplomatic cake.

The recipe

For the preparation of the diplomatic cake you can follow the traditional recipe or the variations present in the various Italian regions. The one considered as classical involves the use of these ingredients:

  • 2 layers of puff pastry
  • 1 sponge cake
  • 30 grams of flour
  • 100 grams of granulated sugar
  • 1/2 litre of whole milk
  • 1/4 liter of fresh cream
  • liqueuer
  • 4 egg yolks
  • icing sugar.

How to prepare it

Its preparation is very simple. First of all, the two layers of puff pastry should be baked in the oven. In the meantime, you must prepare the cream that will be used to fill the cake. This is made with egg yolks, cream, milk and granulated sugar. Once the cream is ready and the pastry is cooked, you can proceed with the assembling of the cake. The first layer of pastry is placed on a dish. To this is added a layer of cream and then the sponge cake, a further layer of cream is added and finally the top layer of puff pastry.

Italian confectionary is known and appreciated all over the world for the incredible quality of its recipes. Some traditional cakes are still sold throughout Italy. If you want to know other traditional products we advise you to read this article too. Now that you know all about the diplomatic cake you just have to try and make it or taste it in any Italian pastry shop.


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