Watch How To Make Il Diplomatico Cake

Video and recipe for how to make an updated version of Marcella Hazan’s classic—and foolproof—Il Diplomatico, a rum-and-coffee-flavoured mousse cake.

Teresa Syrnyk discovered the recipe for Il Diplomatico when she decided to cook her way through Marcella Hazan’s The Classic Italian Cookbook. Originally published in 1973 and now out of print, this cookbook was the first of many by the woman whose name is now synonymous on this continent with authentic Italian cooking, someone rightfully credited with having introduced most of us to dishes such as risotto and polenta.

Syrnyk’s version of Hazan’s recipe eschews the heavy whipped cream icing in favour of much lighter and infinitely more attractive dusted cocoa for the top.

RMO Media has collaborated with Doris Cheung Art + Media to produce a video on how to make Il Diplomatico, the first in a series on topics designed to appeal to Frugalbits readers. Click through to view the video and/or obtain a printable version of the recipe.

Il Diplomatico CakeTeresa’s Il Diplomatico Mousse Cake

1 16-oz good-quality store-bought pound cake

For The Soaking Mixture
1 1/4 cups strong espresso coffee
5 tbsp rum
5 tbsp water
5 tsp granulated sugar

For The Mousse
4 eggs
6 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tsp sugar

Dutch process cocoa powder for dusting

Butter and line a 9-inch baking dish with two layers of wax paper, extending the paper up the sides.

Combine coffee, water, rum and sugar in a flat-bottomed dish. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Cut the pound cake into slices 1/4-inch thick.

Melting The Chocolate: Roughly chop the chocolate, place it into a metal bowl and melt it over a pot of boiling water, stirring constantly. Make sure the boiling water does not touch the bottom of the bowl or the chocolate may scorch. Set aside.

Preparing The Eggs: Separate four eggs. Beat egg whites until they form soft peaks. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with one teaspoon of sugar until they turn a pale yellow colour. Set both mixtures aside.

Soaking The Slices: Soak each slice of pound cake in the rum and coffee mixture. Use a paring knife to cut the cake slices so they fit snugly into the dish. Line the bottom and sides of a baking dish with slices.

Making The Mousse: To prepare the mousse, pour melted chocolate into the egg yolk mixture, combining first with a hand mixer then a spatula. Fold this chocolate mixture into the beaten egg whites until blended.

Assembling The Cake: Pour the mousse over the rum-soaked pound cake in the dish. Cover the mixture with more slices of rum-soaked cake. Trim the slices around the edge of the dish to make the top even. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight to set. The following day, invert the cake onto a flat serving platter. Remove the wax paper and dust the top with Dutch process cocoa powder. Trim the sides of the cake to make it look nice then cut into pieces two-inches square. Serve with whipped cream and fresh cherries.

Photo: Doris Cheung-Joseph; video: produced by Doris Cheung-Joseph and Carolann Rule; directed, shot and edited by Doris Cheung-Joseph; recipe contributed and demonstrated by Teresa Syrnyk.

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