My American christmas cake

My American christmas cake

La mia torta di natale americana

The Italian Baker

Every Christmas, while I cook for my family and friends, I wonder how many people are doing the same, and I feel we are all connected through a single purpose: showing our love through cooking. In Italy, Christmas is a big deal and the table is literally overloaded with food. We do have amazing recipes for Christmas cakes, but this cake can be easily added to the menu without sacrificing any other dessert. It is tradition here to have meals of at least four courses and many desserts.

In this cake I use an Italian eggy liqueur called VOV, which is basically a mixture of Marsala and eggs and can be considered the Italian version of eggnog. A note: the base recipe for this sponge cake is the same as for the Lemon and Mascarpone cake; the recipe is so versatile you can add new ingredients every time.


Quantity Ingredient

For the cakes

Quantity Ingredient
little softened butter, for greasing
285g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
200g caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
pinch salt
100ml vegetable oil
100ml water, at room temperature
1 large orange, Grated zested
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract

For the frosting and filling

Quantity Ingredient
250ml double cream
250g mascarpone cheese
3-4 tablespoons vov liqueur or eggnog, to taste
90g icing sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Butter two 20-cm cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking parchment.
  2. Sift the flour into a medium bowl, add the baking powder and half the sugar and whisk to combine. Set aside. Place the egg whites in a large bowl, add the cream of tartar and set aside.
  3. Put the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the salt, oil, water, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla and beat until mixed. Add the flour mixture and beat for 1 minute or until well mixed (do not over-mix).
  4. Using an electric hand-held whisk, whisk the egg whites until frothy, then add the remaining sugar and whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold the whisked egg whites very gently into the cake batter, then divide the mixture between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.
  5. For the frosting and filling, whip the cream until medium-stiff. Put the mascarpone and liqueur (I like all 4 tablespoons!) in a separate bowl and beat until creamy. Add the icing sugar and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the whipped cream to the mascarpone mixture and beat just enough so the ingredients are well blended; do not overbeat. If it’s too runny, add more icing sugar.
  6. To assemble, place one cake on a plate. Spread over some filling and top with the second cake. Cover the entire cake with mascarpone cream, using a spatula and decorating with a piped edge if you like (and a sugarpaste stag painted with edible gold dust!)
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