For this classic Tuscan dessert, we cover the dome -- sponge cake filled with whipped cream, fresh raspberries, toasted hazelnuts, and bits of toffee -- with chocolate ganache, and then creme anglaise.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist
For the Syrup:
For the Filling:
For the Filling & Topping:
For the Topping:

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place hazelnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet; toast until skins begin to split, about 10 minutes. Rub warm nuts vigorously with a clean kitchen towel to remove skins. Return to baking sheet; toast until fragrant and golden brown, about 1 minute more. Cool; coarsely chop. Set aside.

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  • In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and liqueur if using. Bring to a boil; stir until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat; set aside to cool completely. Line a 9-by-5-inch domed metal or glass bowl with plastic wrap.

  • Cut rectangular sponge cake into thirds crosswise and lengthwise, making 9 rectangles. Reserve round sponge cake layer to use on top. Cut each rectangle diagonally in half, forming 18 triangles. Brush both sides of each triangle with some syrup. Line inside of bowl with triangle slices, pointed ends facing bottom of bowl, to form a sunburst pattern. Fit slices snugly so bowl is completely lined. Use small pieces of syrup-brushed cake to fill in gaps. Trim the cake top to make it even. Transfer lined bowl to refrigerator.

  • Place cream and confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium until stiff, about 3 minutes. Gently fold in reserved nuts, toffee, and raspberries. Remove lined bowl from refrigerator, fill with cream mixture, and cover top with cake round. This will become bottom of zuccotto when unmolded. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 12 hours or overnight.

  • Place a wire rack on top of bowl, and invert zuccotto onto rack. Place on a rimmed baking sheet. Remove bowl and plastic wrap. Using a ladle, pour ganache over top of dome, letting excess drip down sides onto rack. Make sure to coat entire surface of the zuccotto. Cut into wedges. Ladle with creme anglaise. Serve immediately, garnishedwith chopped toffee, nuts, and berries.

Reviews (11)

97 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 15
  • 4 star values: 30
  • 3 star values: 35
  • 2 star values: 11
  • 1 star values: 6
Rating: Unrated
10/07/2016
I 1st made this as published in the 2002 Holiday baking magazine. While the taste was fantastic, the cake was so tricky to assemble and completely fell into disrepair with the first slice. Not the impression I wanted to make. Fast forward 14 years and I stumbled on the 'Betty Crocker Bake'n Fill Cake Pan'. Bought one on ebay for $6. EXACTLY what this recipe requires. For those of you with one stashed in a cupboard somewhere, I highly recommend it. Mine looks better than the picture. Perfection!
Rating: Unrated
01/07/2013
We made this for our 2012 Christmas Cake -- it was fantastic! I highly recommend it! The presentation makes the recipe look difficult, but the instructions are spot-on. As long as you use all the correct pan sizes, this should turn out as promised. We made this exactly according to the recipe, but may make some seasonal variations now that we know what a fun dessert this is.
Rating: Unrated
05/21/2011
This has become my go to recipe when I need a showstopper dessert. I add more toffee candy and raspberries than called for in the recipe. This is a multi step recipe so allow plenty of time for it. The combination of textures and flavors are amazing and it never fails to get rave reviews. Definitely worth the effort.
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Rating: Unrated
12/19/2010
How big does the sponge cake need to be? Is 9" ok?
Rating: Unrated
12/15/2010
Does anyone know if the gaunache can be poured on a couple of hours early and then placed in the refrigerator until serving time?
Rating: Unrated
01/01/2010
I had a tough time with the sponge cake- the recipe link on here is for a 9" so I doubled it and made that plus a 13x9. I still needed more sponge cake to line the bowl so it had holes and lines in it. It didn't look pretty but tasted great. Also the ganache never set for me so next time i'll use less cream and a little more chocolate.
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Rating: Unrated
12/23/2008
http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/vanilla-sponge-cake Here is an easier link to connnect to.
Rating: Unrated
12/23/2008
Rating: Unrated
12/01/2008
Can someone send me the Vanilla Sponge Cake recipe? There is no link above. I tried to find it under the Recipe Finder, but the link there does not work. I would really like to make this for Christmas.
Rating: Unrated
07/21/2008
I had make these cake several times, and my daughter just asked me to make it again for her birthday. Yes it is little time consuming but I make the pastry one day and next day I make the filling and finish the cake. It is excellent,
Rating: Unrated
03/13/2008
I made this for my husband's birthday one year and everybody loved it. It was a little time consuming, but definitely worth it.