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Zucotto: A Christmas ice cream cake

Part Christmas pudding, part ice cream cake this recipe is perfect for hot Australian summer Christmases.
Prep Time2 hrs
Cook Time20 mins
Setting time5 hrs
Total Time7 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian


for the cake

  • 250 g flour or 2 cups
  • 440 g sugar or 2 cups
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 225 g butter
  • 4 tbsp cocoa
  • 250 ml water or 1 cup
  • 125 ml buttermilk or ½ cup
  • 2 whole eggs lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp bicarb/baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

for the filling

for topping

  • 2 tbsp cocoa for sifting over the zucotto
  • 35 g dark chocolate
  • 35 g cream


to make the cake

  • Line two sheet pans (mine were 9" x 13") with baking paper. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.
  • Combine butter, cocoa and water in a small saucepan and heat until just bubbling. Turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.
  • In a measuring jug, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into a lined sheet cake pan and bake at 180C for 20 minutes.
  • (Depending on the dimensions of your pudding mould, you'll most probably have too much cake - Keep the extra cake to patch any gaps in the exterior during assembly.)

to assemble

  • Remove the tub of ice cream from the fridge so that it softens up a bit.
  • Line a 1.5 litre pudding bowl with double thickness cling wrap.
  • Line the base of a pudding bowl with a circle of cake, then line the sides - try to pack it in as tight as possible, trying to minimise gaps. Don't stress too much though, leftover cake can be used to fill in the gaps later, plus it will be topped with a layer of cocoa.
  • Fill with ice cream, then cover with cling wrap and a layer of foil. Freeze at least overnight, but this zucotto will keep well in the freezer for over a month!
  • When ready to eat, make ganache by microwaving chocolate and cream in a small bowl and mixing. Unmould the zucotto and dust with cocoa powder, then drizzle or pipe the chocolate ganache on top. Top with a Christmas decoration if you feel so inclined.