Make Ahead

Torta di Radicchio (Radicchio Cake with White Chocolate Glaze)

February 26, 2018
5 Ratings
Photo by Emiko
  • Serves 8-10 servings
Author Notes

This is a Tessa Kiros recipe for a traditional, if unconventional, cake from Chioggia, a Northern Italian town famous for its radicchio. It has the simple topping of an easy, thick glaze of melted white chocolate—even for those who aren't fans of white chocolate, it's an addition that works beautifully with this otherwise quite plain, moist radicchio cake. But you could also dust with powdered sugar or do a simple lemon glaze here too.

This recipe comes from Tessa Kiros' Linenwater and Limoncello cookbook, dedicated to her mother in law and really to all Italian "nonne" and women in the kitchen. I have only made one quite different modification, which is to add lemon juice to the water where the radicchio leaves are blanched. This acidic bath keeps the radicchio a bright pink—otherwise, they can turn greenish blue, especially if you happen to live in a place with hard water (I do), or use unprocessed sugar, which can be slightly basic rather than neutral. Radicchio, like red cabbage and other fruit and vegetables that contain anthocyanin, can change color from red to blue in acidic and basic environments. It does not affect the flavor at all. For me, this was simply a question of aesthetic, keeping the radicchio a deep magenta, and the extra squeeze of lemon is quite a welcome flavor. Tessa also adds a splash of brandy to her cake. —Emiko

Test Kitchen Notes

This recipe is featured in the article This White Chocolate Cake Has a Surprising (Erm, Leafy) Ingredient —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 stick (100 grams) softened butter, divided
  • 2/3 cup (125 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) head of Radicchio di chioggia (round red radicchio)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 pinch grated nutmeg (preferably freshly grated from a whole nutmeg rather than pre-ground)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (125 grams) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 5 ounces (150 grams) white chocolate, in pieces
  1. Heat oven to 350° F and prepare a cake tin (8-inches in diameter) by greasing it with a teaspoon of the butter and lining it with baking paper.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to boil, add 2 teaspoons of the sugar and all the lemon juice to the water. Pull off the radicchio leaves in from their head and blanch in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain very well, then chop finely.
  3. Cream the remaining butter and sugar in a bowl, adding the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg and then gently fold in the flour and baking powder. When just combined, add the chopped radicchio.
  4. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for roughly 45 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the tin.
  5. To prepare the glaze, melt the white chocolate (in a microwave or over a double boiler) and leave it to cool slightly, until it pours slowly and will coat the cake thickly. Begin to cover the top of the cake with this glaze and allow it to cool.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kemturner
  • shahnnen elizabeth-head
    shahnnen elizabeth-head
  • Emiko
  • Magdalena O
    Magdalena O

7 Reviews

kemturner August 24, 2019
I’m hooked! Every Emiko Davies recipe I’ve tried so far has been a success! My difficult to please daughter is happy and enjoys every meal now. She’s asked if we can make this again for her “merenda” at school. Thanks Emiko!!
Magdalena O. March 19, 2018
What do you think of this being gluten free or with spelt instead? Would i hold up or become too heavy?
Emiko March 21, 2018
I think spelt would be wonderful here. You could absolutely try using nuts instead of flour -- this is traditionally made with half hazelnut flour but many also use almond flour as it's a bit cheaper!
shahnnen E. February 27, 2018
A whole nutmeg? That sounds intense (mostly for my microplane ;) but I love all of Emiko's recipes, so I will comply.
Emiko February 27, 2018
Oh haha no no, not a whole one just a grating of a whole nutmeg (rather than already ground nutmeg which doesn't have nearly as much flavour!). I will re-word it! :D
shahnnen E. February 27, 2018
Ok, perfect. That will save some elbow grease :) Also, how would we feel about caramelizing the white chocolate first? I feel like it would be great here, as long as it didn't get grainy.
Emiko February 28, 2018
I'm not confident in caramelising white chocolate myself but I also do love the sheer simplicity of just melting some white chocolate to make a pretty topping too. Saying that, I think there's room for trying many good toppings to this cake though, your call! :)