La Torta Donizetti di Bergamo (Turta del Donizet)

Donizetti cake has many stories associated with its creation. Some credit pastry chef Alessandro Balzer for making it to commemorate the death of the famous Bergamo composer, Gaetano Donizetti. Others say that the composer, Gioacchino Rossini, a friend of Donizetti and lover of fine food, asked his personal chef to make a cake for his friend who had a failed romance and was depressed. The chef created a cake like the butter-rich Margherita cake but enriched the batter with candied fruits and Maraschino liqueur.



  • 1 cup butter at room temperature (222 g)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (150 g)
  • 4 eggs room temperature, separated
  • 1 TBS vanilla extract
  • 2 TBS Maraschino liqueur
  • ¾ cup flour (90 g)
  • ¾ cup potato starch (90 g)
  • 1 TSP baking powder
  • ½ TSP teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup diced dried apricots (100g)
  • ¾ cup diced dried pineapple (100g)
  • 1 TBS Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling


  1. In a bowl whip the butter and ½ cup of the sugar until well blended, light lemon colored and fluffy
  2. Whip in the egg yolks one at a time until well blended. Then whip in the vanilla extract and Maraschino liqueur.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, potato starch, baking powder and salt together.
  4. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites with the remaining ¼ cup sugar until firm and glossy looking peaks appear and is the consistency of meringue. Fold the egg white mixture into the egg yolk batter, being careful not to deflate the egg whites.
  5. Add the apricots and pineapple and combine all with the egg yolk mixture until well blended. The batter will be thick.
  6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until firm to the touch and nicely browned.
  7. Cool completely and dust with the Confectioners’ suga.r
  8. Decorating options: Make a Confectioners’ sugar glaze and drizzle over top of cake and decorate with additional diced apricots and pineapple.
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