About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Apple Fritters | Main | Zuccotto »

Diplomatico-A Chocolate Dessert with Rum and Coffee

This recipe is full of surprises.

1. First, it stretches over 3 pages in the book. Hey, must be complicated, right?

2. Not exactly, because the recipe starts with a store-bought pound cake.

3. And some of the length is due to different options for the cake frosting.

4. But, I found it impossible to buy a plain pound cake. Sara Lee used to make one, but it has been delisted, according to Brian at the local supermarket.

5. And no luck trying to buy a pound cake at a couple of specialty stores in the area.

6. But, BW came through (again) and made a pound cake.

7. Everything was going fine - well, not exactly but I'll explain later - when, WHOA! the preparation stretches over two days. Guess I should have read the directions more carefully the first time through.

...The last surprise, I'll leave to the end.

The ingredients below include some expresso coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, a 16-ounce pound cake, some sugar, water, a few eggs, a bit of butter, a small amount of whipping cream and, oh yes, some rum. Marcella also suggests a garnish of fresh berries or walnuts and candied fruit, but I skipped the garnish this time.


A nine-inch rectangular pan, lined with damp cheesecloth provides the structure for the dessert. The pound cake is cut into slices; the individual slices are soaked in a rum & coffee mixture; then line the bottom of a nine-inch pan. A filling of chocolate, egg yolk and a bit of sugar is spread over the layer of pound cake; then a second layer is placed on top. The cheesecloth is folded over the top and the pan is refrigerated until the next day.


A chocolate frosting is made the next day. Marcella also provides an option for a whipped cream frosting, but how much chocolate is too much?


What remains of the initial servings. The white spots on the cake are where I missed with the rum & coffee soak. The soak was the trickiest part of the preparation - too wet and the pieces fall apart.


What I liked about this recipe:

This turned out great the first time I tried it a few months ago & I have improved the esthetics in subsequent efforts. I received many compliments on my initial preparation from an international audience - well a couple of my son-in-law's relatives from Scotland were at the dinner.

And, by the way, I did locate a source for a store-bought Sara Lee pound cake for the recipe & used it once - but the scratch cake is a lot better.

What I didn't I like about this recipe:

Well, I wasn't thrilled that it stretched over two days, but that was my problem. Also, the initial difficulty in locating a main ingredient (the pound cake) was an unexpected hurdle.

Would I make it again?

Yes, this is the best dessert I have ever made. This is a great recipe. I have made it a few times and it always impresses. It is equal to, or better, than any restaurant dessert in my experience. It is the most professional result I have achieved in this project.

This dessert is at the top of my favourite recipes I've prepared for this project - the final surprise.

Comments (2)

Frank Eric Rathbone:

This is obviously meant to be the same dessert that I have made for decades now under the same name but mine differs slightly.

First it is made in a large bowl so that it is dome shaped. Second, the filling to cake ratio is much higher and the filling is, I suspect, a lot stiffer since it is meant to hold its shape when the cake is sliced so more a butter cream than a cream Anglais which is what I think you're making. Third, I've never heard of it being garnished with anything.

Nonetheless, its clearly the same thing and WOW, it is great isn't it!?

Marcella Hazan:

Hah! This is the man who would never make those sensational almond pralines because he had to control his sugar intake. Mrs Doug must be a very understanding woman. Glad you liked it, Doug.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 13, 2011 6:00 AM.

The previous post in this blog was Apple Fritters.

The next post in this blog is Zuccotto.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.33
© 2010 - 2012 Slow Travel