Donizetti Cake for broken hearts from Bergamo

Valentine’s Day is the feast of love in all its forms. There are happy lovers but also afflicted lovers, to whom our recipe is addressed to this year. Yes, because the pains of love can be slightly healed by a piece of cake, even better if it is a slice of Donizetti Cake, one of Bergamo‘s most symbolic desserts.

Legend tells that one evening the Bergamo-born Gaetano Donizetti and his composer colleague and friend Gioacchino Rossini, were at dinner together. But Donizetti was grieved because of a broken heart that had taken away his smile and even his appetite. It was then that Rossini, tired of seeing his friend in distress, he asked his personal chef to prepare a quick and simple cake that would put his friend in a good mood. The chef went to work and returned with a soft doughnut shaped cake covered with powdered sugar, which inside revealed candied apricots and pineapple and the unmistakable taste of vanilla and Maraschino liquor. As it turns out, Donizetti liked the cake and since then often you hear these words echoed in the city streets; “if you are lovesick, a slice of Turta del Donizèt and everything passes”. (Legend taken from:

Are you looking for some other traditional Italian Valentine’s Day recipes? Take a look HERE


Donizetti Cake

Preparation time: 15 minCooking time: 40 min
Total time: 55min
Donizetti Cake for broken hearts from Bergamo


  • 3 egg whites
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 150g (5oz) sugar
  • 250g (8.8oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 8g (0.3oz) baking powder
  • 100g (3.5oz) potato starch
  • 100g (3.5oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp Maraschino liquor (or similar (cherry) dessert liquor)
  • 100g (3.5oz) candied apricot cubes
  • 100g (3.5oz) candied pineapple cubes
  • icing sugar to decorate


  • Pre-heat the oven at 165 °C (on convection oven), or at 175 °C (on static oven).
  • Beat the egg whites until stiff.
  • Put the butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix very well until soft and fluffy. Add vanilla extract and then egg yolks, one at the time, and beat for about 5 min.
  • Add Maraschino liquor, and mix.
  • Sift flour and potato starch with baking powder, and then add it to the egg mixture, a little at a time (add a spoon of flour only when the previous one is totally incorporated).
  • Add the whipped egg whites very gently, a little at a time.
  • Add chopped apricots and pineapples, and mix.
  • Grease a donut tray (24 cm in diameter) and pour the batter. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until a skewer, inserted in the middle of the cake, comes out clean. Let it cool.
  • Dust with icing sugar.

Recipe by @fattoincasadabenedetta.

Donizetti Cake for broken hearts from Bergamo

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