Torta di Verona

This is like a tiramisu with a different flavour profile. Light fluffy genoise sponge soaked in amaretto, layered with whipped mascarpone and a blueberry sauce. Without exaggeration, it is one of my favourite desserts ever. It ticks every box- booze, cake, goo, fruit, crunch, it’s all there!

My Aussie boss in the hotel I worked in made this once and I couldn’t get over how good it was. I made it for an event but all I had left of his recipe was the ingredients scribbled on a scrap of paper. I made do with different versions I found online, but couldn’t figure out where it was actually from. On the night we had an Italian and an Australian present but neither of them had seen it before. Turns out it comes from an old restaurant in Sydney called Taylor’s. Cultural mishmash at it’s finest.

This recipe is your friend. It’s special enough for a big occasion and you can also conveniently do most of the prep ahead of time. The cake will keep for up to two days, the almonds and blueberries can be done up to three days in advance. Just don’t do the final layering too far ahead – only an hour or two or it will go soggy.

Ingredients

SPONGE :

4 eggs

100g caster sugar

100g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

150ml marsala + 150ml Amaretto

MASCARPONE CREAM :

4 eggs, separated

150g caster sugar

400g mascarpone

1 tsp vanilla extract

BLUEBERRY SAUCE :

500g blueberries – set a few aside for garnish

150g caster sugar

50ml crème de cassis

AMARETTO ALMONDS:

100g flaked almonds

30g caster sugar

3 tsp amaretto

icing sugar, for dusting

Directions

Start with the sponge. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a 40x30cm cake tin. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment whisk the eggs until light and fluffy. Slowly add the sugar, one spoonful at a time and leave to whisk for at least another five minutes. You want it to be very voluminous. Sift in the dry ingredients and gently fold in using a whisk. Pour into the prepared tray and bake for 25 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

For the almonds, toss them in the amaretto and sugar, and bake at 165C for about ten minutes, but check before this because nuts burn. You want them nice and golden. Set aside to cool when you’re happy with the colour.

BLOOBS! Put the blueberries into a saucepan with the sugar and crème de cassis and cook until the berries have burst and the sugar has melted. Let it bubble for a few minutes so it thickens. Let it cool completely or the layers will bleed when you assemble the dessert.

For the mascarpone cream whisk the yolks with the sugar until pale and fluffy. Whisk in the mascarpone and vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until you have medium peaks. Gently fold the whites into the mascarpone mix and set aside.

Put yo hands together. Mix 150ml each of Marsala and Amaretto in a shallow bowl and slice the cake into lady finger size slices. Have your chilled bowls of mascarpone cream and blueberry sauce close by. Start with a layer of mascarpone, then blueberry sauce, then a layer of very lightly dipped cake slices. Don’t dip in advance or they will go soggy. Just lightly dip and gently squeeze out the excess with each piece. Finish with a layer of mascarpone cream. Chill in the fridge for at least one hour before serving. Sprinkle with the amaretto almonds, blueberries and dust with icing sugar.

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