This classic Italian cake, similar to the British trifle, was made by Martha Stewart Living prep kitchen manager John Barricelli for Martha's mother's birthday.



Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch cake pans; set aside. Fill a medium saucepan 1/4 full with water. Set the saucepan over medium heat, and bring water to a simmer.

  • In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg yolks and 1 cup sugar. Place over saucepan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and egg yolks are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. Test by rubbing between your fingers; egg yolks should feel smooth.

  • Transfer bowl to the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add vanilla and salt. Beat on medium speed until pale and thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a large clean bowl. Wash mixer bowl and whisk attachment, and dry well.

  • In the clean bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Beat on high, until stiff glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.

  • Using a rubber spatula, fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the egg-yolk mixture. Gently, but thoroughly, fold in remaining egg whites. Gently fold in flour, then butter, mixing until just combined.

  • Divide batter evenly between prepared cake pans. Bake, rotating cakes halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, and let stand until completely cool.

  • Trim cakes' tops. Cut each cake in half horizontally, creating 4 layers. Place one layer on a 9-inch cake round. Brush with simple syrup. Spread with half of the pastry cream. Top with second layer. Brush with simple syrup. Top with a 1/4-inch-thick layer of whipped cream, about 1 cup. Top with third cake layer. Brush with simple syrup. Spread with remaining pastry cream. Top with final cake layer. Brush with simple syrup. Coat entire cake with an even layer of whipped cream. Use remaining whipped cream to decorate, as desired.

Reviews (6)

29 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 10
  • 2 star values: 8
  • 1 star values: 2
Rating: 1 stars
Dear Martha, Wish you would do a deep deep research on this so called “Cake” as this is a total modern rendition as seen in Wikipedia of a real old creation. Your cake is a great rendition of that Wikipedia pudding cake, not real Zuppa Engliase. The pudding you and I are familiar with was invented in 1936 by Jell-O. This Wikipedia story postdates all that is now being called the "real History of Zuppa Englese” and is a modern pudding not a cake or a soup for that matter. That's not the correct spelling for one. Chef Carmine Louis Zuliani's rendition matches the actual History of the 13th century when and where the cake actually comes from. Wikki is all wrong and too short. 12th 13th Century The English King (living in France as that is what England was at that time) married the ‘Dolce’ of Italy as that was her [filtered]le (the ‘Sweetness’ of Italy) (Kind of a treaty arrangement thing) and moved her to England (France) and forced her to exist in France until the wedding on the English Island. This matches the history story of many happenings as to how the ’flour blight’ and some French foods that killed thousands in France who ate the breads of the day, kept the flour in floor bins which developed a fungi such as mildew. The fungi was stopped by using the new Italian Igloo ovens to bake the bread as it cooked at a much higher temperature thus killing the blight and making a new bread completely. This is why French bread is so dark and crusty compared to its exact twin Italian bread. It’s in the rolling of the loaf that makes the big bubbles in Italian bread and small bubbles in the French bread as that is the only difference between the two breads. The French bread was cooked it longer and the people received their staple of that time and it stopped the blight in its tracks. That is how the French got their igloo ovens among other things. She, The Dolce so hated the foods there in France and the now moving to England with the English peoples diets so she took EVERY Chef from Italy with her. Revenge on her family for trading her like a cow perhaps. The English King on their wedding celebration meal ordered the head Chef to bake a special dessert for it. It seems foolish that the Italians would name a cake or a desert involving a building (Altare della Patria) in Rome Italy designed in 1884 and built years later referencing English Soup of the 19th century - a pudding cake??!!?? The Chef being frustrated and angered by the move created a chocolate fudge and a vanilla bread cake that was check-a- board cake and soaked with Grande Manier and he named it English Soup in Italian. The cake is round, three layered and there is a special baking pan combination to bake it as it must be flipped over for a day with the Grand Marnier (Orange liquor) to soak the entire cake. No pudding between layers or any frosting. This is truly a unique cake and pan. I have been told that Chef Louis as he was called was the first Chef to publish in the United States. I’ve seen this book once while in New England. He was the Head Chef at both the Crocker House and the Mohican Hotel in New London CT at one time (1920-30's? or even earlier). His cook book is supposed to be a small book and I can't find it… yet. The Grand Marnier makes the cake absolutely wonderful and adds to the ‘sponginess’ bread like cake. Chef Carmine Louis Zuliani arrived in Boston in the very early 1900’s with his new bride Splendora. I love the history of our foods and do it as a personal project. You should do this as your artistic ways would make it a stand out dessert. Enjoy! Chef Vittorio
Rating: Unrated
To Joit. Check on step 5 and you will find the butter.
Rating: Unrated
5 Stars. Excellent recipe. Not for the novice baker.
Rating: Unrated
What's the 4 tbls. of melted butter for? Martha needs better editors. I find a lot of errors in her recipes.
Rating: Unrated
I hope you found it but Martha has that recipe on her site.
Rating: Unrated
How do you make Rum Simple Syrup?