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December/January 2019

Italian Flag Cake

The traditional Italian rainbow cookie gets an upgrade to a festive holiday cake while still staying true to its classic flavor combination of almond, raspberry, and chocolate.

Why This Recipe Works

We wanted to create a cake that took the traditional Italian rainbow cookie to new heights. To amplify the almond flavor, we added both almond extract and slivered almonds to the mix when we processed the sugar and eggs. The slivered almonds also gave the cake a pleasant crunch to complement the smoothness of the jam and frosting. We used gel food coloring instead of liquid food coloring to achieve vibrantly colored cake layers. While the green gel coloring worked perfectly, the red gel coloring on its own produced a blinding neon red. We found that mixing cocoa powder and water with the red gel coloring created the perfect deep red hue for our cake. Letting the cake rest in the refrigerator for an hour after the first frosting created a sturdy barrier around the jam, ensuring that it didn't ooze out.

Instructions

Serves 10 to 12

Cake

2 ¼ cups (9 ounces) cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons (13 ounces) granulated sugar
6 large eggs, room temperature
5 tablespoons slivered almond
2 ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
24 tablespoons (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and hot
½ teaspoon green gel food coloring
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons red gel food coloring

Frosting

20 tablespoons (2½ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar
¾ cup (2¼ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
Pinch salt
¾ cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
cup seedless raspberry jam
Nutritional Information

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Instructions

Serves 10 to 12

We developed this recipe using Softasilk Cake Flour. When making the frosting, let the chocolate cool to between 85 and 100 degrees before adding it to the butter mixture. The frosting can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days. Let it stand at room temperature for 1 hour before using.

1. For the cake: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease three 8-inch round cake pans, line with parchment paper, grease parchment, and flour pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.

2. Process sugar, eggs, almonds, vanilla, and almond extract in food processor until combined, about 10 seconds. With processor running, add melted butter in steady stream until incorporated. Transfer sugar mixture to large bowl.

3. Sift flour mixture over sugar mixture in 3 additions, whisking to combine after each addition until few streaks of flour remain. Continue to gently whisk batter until almost no lumps remain.

4. Transfer one-third of batter (about 1¾ cups) to 1 prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula. Divide remaining batter evenly between 2 bowls. Add green food coloring to 1 bowl and mix until combined. Whisk cocoa, water, and red food coloring in small bowl until smooth. Add red food coloring mixture to second bowl of batter and mix until combined. Transfer colored cake batters to remaining 2 prepared pans and smooth tops with rubber spatula.

5. Bake until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 24 to 28 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking. Let cakes cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run paring knife around edges of pans to loosen. Remove cakes from pans, discarding parchment, and let cool completely on rack, about 2 hours.

6. For the frosting: Process butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add chocolate and process until smooth and creamy, 10 to 15 seconds. (Frosting can be held at room temperature for up to 3 hours.)

7. Place red cake layer on cake plate or pedestal. Spread 1/3 cup jam evenly over cake, leaving ¼-inch border. Top with white cake layer, press lightly to adhere, then spread remaining 1/3 cup jam evenly over cake, leaving ¼-inch border. Top with green cake layer and press lightly to adhere. Spread about 1 cup frosting evenly over top and sides of cake, making sure to fill in gaps between cake layers to create smooth sides. Refrigerate cake until frosting is firm to touch, about 1 hour. Spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake.

8. Starting in middle of top of cake, lightly press back of spoon into frosting and swoop up to create C shape. Continue swoops outward in concentric circles to edge of cake. Serve.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.