Torta Mimosa

March  4, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham, prop styling by Alya Hameedi, food styling by Anna Billingskog
  • Prep time 2 hours
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • makes 1 (8-inch) cake
Author Notes

International Women's Day (La Festa Della Donna) is celebrated all over the world, but most particularly in Italy. March 8 is a day we celebrate women, so of course, the celebration has to include some type of cake! That's why you should turn to this recipe, a classic every time International Women's Day rolls around. Many different versions of a torta mimosa can be found all over Italian pasticcerie and is eaten on this special day that is solely dedicated to women. But there's one thing they have in common: The cake is made to resemble the beautiful mimosa flour, which is yellow and bright and cheerful, and this recipe calls for a white powdered sugar center. The best part is that it smells delicious as it's baking!

For the cake, you will make two pillowy pan di spagna (Italian sponge cake) and a delicious pastry cream that's lightened with whipped cream (diplomat cream). The second cake is cut into small cubes and are used to decorate the outside of the first cake. It's a lot easier than it looks and is a showstopper of a dessert that everyone is going to fawn over. This recipe is most definitely a labor of love, but aren’t the women in your life totally worth it? —Anna Francese Gass

What You'll Need
  • Pan di Spagna
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) cake flour, plus more for the pan
  • 8 large egg whites (240 grams), room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 large egg yolks (144 grams), room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons teaspoons vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Vanilla Custard, Whipped Cream & Assembly
  • 4 large egg yolks (72 grams)
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) powdered sugar, plus more for garnish
  • Cognac, for brushing
  1. Pan di Spagna
  2. Heat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment, then grease and flour the parchment.
  3. In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. With the motor running, gradually add the sugar, increase the speed to high, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, vanilla paste, and salt to combine. Slowly fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until just combined.
  5. Gradually sift one-third of the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold until just combined. Repeat two more times with the remaining flour, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
  6. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is golden but still springs back when touched and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool slightly, then invert onto wire racks and let cool completely.
  1. Vanilla Custard, Whipped Cream & Assembly
  2. Make the Custard: In the large bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla paste, cornstarch, and salt on medium-high speed for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until it begins to simmer, then remove from the heat. Add a few splashes of the milk to the egg mixture and stir to combine to temper. Continue to add the remaining milk while constantly whisking to prevent the eggs from cooking.
  4. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 to 6 minutes, until the mixture resembles a loose pudding. Once thickened, stop whisking and let it bubble for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and add the butter, 1 piece at a time, whisking after each addition. Cover with a piece of plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Place the custard in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours, until chilled.
  5. Cut the Cake: Using a serrated knife, trim the thin brown layer from the outside of the cakes. Cut 1 cake in half horizontally to make 2 layers. Cut the second cake in half horizontally and then into ½-inch cubes (this will be the outside).
  6. Make the Whipped Cream: In the large bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.
  7. Once the pastry cream is cooled, add a bit of the whipped cream to the pastry cream and gently fold to lighten the mixture. Add the remaining cream and fold until combined.
  8. Assemble the Cake: Place the bottom cake layer on a platter. Brush some cognac over the cake and along the sides. Spread 1 cup of the cream on top of the cake, then arrange the second layer on top. Brush some more cognac on the top.
  9. Cover the top of the cake with the cream. Gently spread the cream down the sides, covering the entire cake. Press the small cake pieces all over the cream to cover the entire cake (you may not use all the pieces).
  10. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours or up to overnight. Sift the powdered sugar in the center of the cake to resemble the center of a mimosa flower.

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