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Zuccotto alla Mousse di Limone - Tuscan Lemon Mousse Filled Dome Cake

This recipe comes from Carmelita Caruana. Carmelita is just passionate about food, about the scents and flavours of food, about the pleasures of cooking and of eating in convivial company, about the use of the best possible ingredients in order to maximise those pleasures.

She believes everyone can learn to cook. She also believes that to cook well you need first to be greedy, and then you need a little patience and a lot of passion!

She started Cook Italy which organises cooking holidays in Italy in 1999 and though relatively new to the field, she is already having great success, travelling internationally to give talks and to run cooking classes. She appeared as guest chef on BBC 2 's Saturday Kitchen last year, cooking a Sicilian menu, and plans to be running occasional evening cookery classes in London. Her cook book is on the way!


A circle of bought day old Pan di Spagna (Italian fat-less sponge cake)
3 eggs
150 ml
fresh cream
125 g sugar
2 organic lemons
10g leaf gelatine
2 - 3 tbsp. vodka or gin (optional)
icing sugar


  • Dilute the vodka or gin with an equal amount of water.
  • Place the leaf gelatine to soak for 10 - 12 minutes in a small bowl of cold water, separating the leaves.
  • Cut the Pan di Spagna into triangles, with which you are going to line a pudding bowl. Save all left over bits of cake. If using, sprinkle the diluted alcohol on the triangles of cake.
  • Zest the lemons and squeeze out about 75 mls of juice.
  • Place 100 ml of the cream in a small saucepan with the egg yolks and half the sugar, and heat carefully - stirring continuously - in a bain marie until it starts to thicken.
  • Add the lemon zest and juice and whisk until it is all good and thick.
  • Take it off the heat, squeeze out the now softened gelatine leaves, and whisk then into the lemon cream fast, so that they quickly dissolve completely.
  • Leave the lemon cream to cool to room temperature - it should not solidify.
  • Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, and at the half way stage add the sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  • Fold the egg whites into the completely cool lemon cream.
  • Line the inside of pudding bowl first with cling film and then with Pan di Spagna slices, fill with the lemon cream and seal with more slices of the cake.
  • Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but 12 is better still.
  • Just before serving whip up the remaining cream and sieve all the left over bits of cake to get fine even breadcrumbs.
  • Unmould the cake, spread it with a layer of whipped cream, then scatter the cake breadcrumbs over the top. Dust with icing sugar, garnish with fresh lemon leaves and slices, and serve.


  • Leaf Gelatineis so much easier to use than powdered gelatine that I suggest you stock up on several packets to take home - they weigh nothing and take up hardly any room. If you run out and cannot find it at home, ask at Italian restaurants, or ask any chef you know, since most chefs prefer it!


The traditional Zucotto is like an ice cream bombe with the Pan di Spagna encasing two creams: a white cream with almonds and a chocolate cream. In summer ice- cream versions of Zucotto are sold in Gelaterias. They make a good gift to your host if you are invited to lunch or dinner

Serves 6

Carmelita Caruana