Giada De Laurentiis’ Zuccotto Is a No-Bake, No-Sweat Summer Cake

Want a quick summer dessert that doesn’t require firing up the oven? Food Network’s Giada De Laurentiis offers her Zuccotto, a delicious no-bake cake that is ready in no time.

The television personality explains how you can make it tonight, uno, due, tre!

Giada De Laurentiis explains how to prepare a recipe on 'Today' in 2011.
Giada De Laurentiis appears on ‘Today’ in 2011 | Charles Sykes/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images

What you’ll need to make De Laurentiis’ Zuccotto

If you’re finding it hard to believe there is such a thing as a no-bake cake, believe in the Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef’s Zuccotto.

Her food and lifestyle blog Giadzy posted on Instagram about this culinary marvel: “An entire beautiful cake you don’t have to turn on the oven for? We love to see it!! Grab the #recipe for this chocolate zuccotto in the profile link and get to “baking!”

Here’s what you’ll need to make De Laurentiis’ Chocolate Zuccotto recipe: nonstick cooking spray, one pound cake loaf, brandy, bittersweet chocolate, whipping cream, almond extract, sugar, sliced almonds, and cocoa powder.

Zuccotto is similar to the English trifle in that a prepared cake (in the case of the trifle, either sponge cake or ladyfingers are used) is employed for the construction of the dessert. The Zuccotto has its origins in Florence and is a cake mound or dome with a cream filling.

You’ll also need a few bowls, one made of metal, and an electric mixer.

How you can make De Laurentiis’ Chocolate Zuccotto

The start of this recipe (full instructions here) is the most important part: it’s the placement of the pound cake, cut into triangles, into a one and a half quart bowl. It’s important because when this dessert is completed, the bowl will be inverted to reveal its uniquely domed shape.

The bowl is sprayed with cooking spray and the bottom of the bowl covered in plastic wrap. The pound cake triangles are arranged along the bottom and sides of the bowl and then brushed with brandy. Save any extra cake.

The chocolate is melted in the metal bowl over bubbling water. Then cream is whipped with the mixer and folded into the melted chocolate. The cream is spread all over the cake, De Laurentiis says, “creating a well in the center.”

In a separate cleaned bowl, another cup of cream and the almond extract are whipped with the mixer, and the powdered sugar slowly sprinkled in. The nuts are folded in and the mixture is placed into the cake ‘well.’

The rest of the cake slices top the whipped cream ‘well’ and the entire cake is sealed with plastic wrap and placed in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.

When you’re ready to serve, the bowl is placed right side up onto a platter, and dusted with cocoa powder. Enjoy!

De Laurentiis’ fans got real about her Chocolate Zuccotto

People feel strongly about their chocolate desserts and the Food Network star’s Chocolate Zuccotto is no different, with nearly 200 reviews.

“Hands down the best dessert I think I’ve ever made,” said one reviewer. “I looked like an architectural genius bringing this to the table and it tasted sublime.”


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Another home cook honestly offered a helpful tip for anyone hoping to try the recipe: “As per usual, Giada does it again! I did however, find the recipe not to be user intuitive. Therefore, here is a tip that I hope will help and a few modifications I made to take make this ‘my own:’ TIP: the points of the loaf triangles go into the bottom of the bowl with the base/larger part of the triangle making the top edges around the bowl.”

Try Giada De Laurentiis’ Chocolate Zuccotto at home tonight for a culinary treat!