Zuccotto fiorentino

Symbol of the Renaissance, Florence owes its undoubted charm to the beauty of its old town and unique artistic legacy that keeps well.

Everything reminds a historical memory still intact and present, also through culinary traditions like the Florentine Zuccotto. Rightly become a classic of Italian pastry, this famous sweet has its origins in the late Renaissance when, to celebrate the arrival of Spanish ambassadors, the Queen of France Catherine de ‘Medici commissioned a cake for her sumptuous feast: the person who was asked to invent the sweet was Bernardo Buontalenti, one of the greatest artists and intellectuals of the second half of the sixteenth century, and the legendary inventor of the ice cream. The artist created a semifreddo which was called at that time “Elmo di Caterina”, because it was done as a helmet in use at the infantry at that time: the skullcap, precisely. From this it could date back even to the origin of the present name, although some sources believe that the etymological origin is linked to headdress of prelates. There are two variants of the skullcap, with cream and with ricotta. Italian Traditions offer both of them!


For the sponge cake

3 eggs

75 g flour

125 g of sugar

15 g of butter


½ grated lemon zest

For the stuffing

500 ml cream

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

chocolate chips

For the filling of ricotta

600g ricotta

10 g of cocoa powder

25 g candied

250 g of sugar


We start from the sponge. Work the eggs well with sugar pouring little by little the flour, then melt the butter, let cool and pour it into the mixture together with the grated rind of lemon. Bake for about 40 minutes at a temperature of 180°. After baking, allow to cool. Then proceed with the filling cream, by mounting the cream and dividing it into two; in one part you will put the chocolate chips while in cocoa powder that you are going to mix. Take back the sponge, saturate nell’alchermes liquor and place it inside the typical cookie-cutter shaped skullcap. Paid the first part of cream with chocolate chips and, after creating a hollow in the center, pour in the cocoa cream. Cover with a final layer of sponge cake and store in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

For the version with ricotta cheese the process is identical, however you have to remember to drain off the whey in order to have a more compact filling. In addition, in the first part of the filling you have to add the candied fruit instead of chocolate chips. Put in the freezer at least 3 hours before serving. Before serving, sprinkle with cocoa powder and powdered sugar.

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