Italian Cream Cake

Classic Cream Cake Made Exactly The Same
Way As In The Italian Pasticceria's

A classic Italian cream cake just like Nonna use to make is a basic sponge cake, that is soaked with some sort of liqueur, filled with pastry cream and covered  whipped cream.

happy 70th birthday cake

Here I will be showing the classic way of assembling a popular Italian cake.

The four essential ingredients are.

A sponge Cake

To make an Italian cake for about 8-10 people you will need a fatless basic sponge cake of about 25cm or 9in. (I have used a rectangle sponge for the photos)

basic italian sponge cake

If you have your recipe of a fatless sponge that you are happy with it use that otherwise here is a simple basic sponge cake recipe for you to try.

Pastry Cream

homemade italian pastry cream

A traditional Italian pastry cream is what is called for with this Italian cream cake.

For this size cake you can use this pastry cream recipe (using 700gr of milk) just double the amounts stated in the recipe. You will find other variations of this cream that you may prefer too.



The more classic liqueurs used in making this cake here are Rum and Maraschino. I have used another liqueur that is popular here Alchermes, from the photos below you can see that this liqueur has a bright red color. Of course if these flavors are not to liking simply change them.

Wetting the sponge with the liqueur straight from the bottle can be a little too strong for my liking.

For an Italian cake this size I would measure out about a cup and a half of water and then add the liqueur to it. How much depends on your preferences, I just use the good old Italian way…  Taste it!

Note... Prepare the water and liqueur a little at a time as not to waste the liqueur because once it is mixed with water it will not keep well.

Whipped Cream

Real milk fresh cream does fit perfectly with this Italian cream cake, but it is not really what is commonly used here. I have had my bakery for 20 years here in Sardinia and I can count on one hand how many cakes I have sold using fresh cream.

The majority of Italian's  prefer a sweeten vegetable based whipping cream.  Of course the choice is yours…

Assembling your Italian Cream Cake.

  • 1. Prepare cake board or tray by covering it with a sheet of greaseproof paper. 
  • 2. Slice your sponge cake in to three layers 
  • 3. Place the first layer of sponge on the board
  • 4. With a baking brush lightly wet the surface of the sponge with the liqueur  all over including the edges
soaking sponge with liqueur
  • 5. Place a 2- 3 table spoonfuls ( more if necessary) of pastry cream and spread out evenly
filling sponge with cream

spreading pastry cream
  • 6. With baking brush pour a little of liqueur on to the pastry cream
adding liqueur on top of the cream
  • 7. Place the second layer of sponge on top of the pastry cream
layered italian cream cake
  • 8. Repeat 4, 5 and 6 and then place the third layer of sponge on top.
  • 9. Wet the last layer of sponge
italian pastry cream cake
  • 10. Depending on how much cream you used to fill the cake if you have any left over, use it to tidy up the edges of the cake and even spread on the top. 

Your Italian cream cake base is ready.

Pop in the fridge over night. I like to assemble the cake and cream base 2 days before for better flavor and then I finished the cake off with the whipping cream on the day I will serve it.

A simple and quick solution for decorating the cake is by whipping up the cream , spooning it on to the cake, making soft peaks and dusting it with some cocoa powder.

Like I said this is a very simple homemade style but there's nothing to stop you from going to town by using a piping bag, adding cake decorations or even fresh fruit.
If you're looking for a more of a professional look here are a few easy steps.

1. Start off by placing a few spoon's full of whipping cream on top of the cake and spreading it out evenly.

cream cake topping

2. Place a star nozzle into a piping bag and fill with the whipping cream

3.Being with the sides first, pipe the whipping cream by simply going up and down the side of the cake. Make sure your lines of cream are close together so that it completely covers the cake.

piping whipping cream on side of cake

4. Finishing off by piping shells around the boarder of the cake

piping boarder of cake

Viola!! Your Italian cream cake ready to decorate with whatever you like.

italian cream cake

This cream cake is an ideal base for any occasion. Although the majority of Italians do like a little bit of liqueur in their cake it can be easily substituted with fruit syrups.

Here are a few photos of decorated cake that I have made using this recipe and method.

As you can see the cream cakes can be decorated very simply or you can even go to town on them.

traditional italian cream cake
simple italian cream cake
cream cake with guitar decoration
happy 70th birthday cake
an italian easter cookie pardule

roma football fan cream cake
 italian dinosaurcream cake
cream cake musical instruments
alice in wonderland cream cake
 italian wedding cake

› Italian Cream Cake

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