An impressive Italian dessert for a festive centrepiece. Using delicious cherries from Hagens (coming in season soon). Omit the booze for a kid-friendly version. Recipe by Hayley McKee - Author of Patacake Cookbook & @stickyfingersbakery
500g cherries, stones removed
225g unsalted butter
1 cup natural yoghurt
3 cups plain flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup brown sugar
500ml whipping cream
1 tbs icing sugar
¼ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
¼ cup dried rose petals
¼ cup dark chocolate, finely grated
4 tbs Galliano or Amaretto (optional)
1 tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180c. Grease and line 2 x 20cm cake tins.
In a small bowl, combine cocoa powder with 1 cup of boiling water. Stir to make a paste. Set aside.
Beat butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
Next, add the yoghurt and vanilla extract, followed by the plain flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine.
Lastly, add the cocoa paste and stir gently with a spatula until uniform and smooth.
Pour batter into the prepared cake tins and bake for 30-40 minutes. Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake. If it is clean on removal, the cake is ready.
Cool the cakes thoroughly, then slice them both in half horizontally, as if you were making a layer cake. Set aside one of the round pieces to cover the top of the zucotto. With the remaining rounds, cut each of them into four quarters, like a pizza.
Line a medium bowl with plastic wrap leaving enough wrap to hang generously over the edges. This excess wrap will be used to enclose the zucotto.
Start placing each of the cake quarters into the bowl. Mould the cake to the bowl using splashes of the liquor to help. If you’d like an alcoholic version you can use a fruit juice. Remember, you can be firm with the moulding! Break up the cake pieces in order to fit the shape of the bowl or patch up any gaps.
Once you have a good cake layer inside the bowl and up the edges, fill the zucotto.
Beat the whipping cream until stiff. Add the icing sugar and marscapone and stir gently with a spatula to combine. Fold in the grated chocolate, rose petals, pistachios and the cherries.
Fill the cake bowl with the filling, pressing in and smooth down as you go. Top with the cake round. Use the overhanging plastic wrap to cover the top completely.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving. You can also freeze the cake for an ice-cream style centre.
To invert the zucotto for serving, use a small palette knife to ease the edges away from the bowl. Unfold the plastic wrap from the top of the cake then place the serving plate on the top and flip the cake over. Don’t be afraid!
Decorate with more cocoa powder, edible flowers or fresh cherries.