If you need a large, easy festive dessert for the holidays it doesn't get any better than this no bake Italian Christmas Pudding Cake!
This recipe is adapted from the UK BBC recipe collection. It uses store bought panettone for ease, whip cream and sour cream for decadence and dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, pistachios and chocolate chips for festive flare!
It needs to sit at least overnight for the flavours to meld, like a trifle. So it is perfect to make 1-2 days ahead! You can also make it to a certain point and freeze it.
So that definitely puts it in the 'it -doesn't-get-any-easier-than-this' category.
Pandoro is the preferred panettone because it is a bit creamier than regular but either works.
Like a trifle you drizzle the panettone with booze and whipped cream and let the flavours meld. If you use (sweet) Marsala for the booze along with the pistachios and chocolate chips you get a Cannoli vibe going on.
You can use Rum or Brandy too.
Chef's Tips for Italian Christmas Pudding Cake
- Use a sweet Marsala and plan to serve what is left along side the cake!
- The effort in this cake is in the assembly. If you can whip cream and cut cake you can make this!
- The cake is too soft to move off the base of the springform pan unless you line it with parchment paper. When you are ready to move it to the serving platter take a wide spatula and gently slide it to the platter. The parchment paper will be soggy but it will hold it together. When you are slicing the cake to serve be aware so you don't cut and serve the parchment paper too!
- Be sure to press the panettone lightly to make solid layers so the cream will have to soak in to the cubes and not just drip through.
- Many of the ingredients are divided and some reserved until you are ready to serve so read the steps carefully. It may help to measure the Marsala, chocolate chips and pistachios first and then divide them up so you don't accidentally use the entire amount at a time. The cream filling gets divided after you have combined it with the chips and cranberries.
- You can assemble the cake up to 2 days before serving. It needs at least 8 hours to set. There are instructions to freeze it once assembled from the BBC recipe site. I have not done this so I can't speak to how well it presents following this approach. I fmade it, served it and froze the leftovers. They got softer and yes.... soggier so the presentation was not what I would want for company but it still tasted delicious and disappeared on sight!
Wine Pairing for Italian Christmas Pudding Cake
For a match made in heaven serve it with a little glass of the Marsala or brandy you used in the cake!
Italian Christmas Pudding Cake
- 9 " Spring form pan
- 22 oz panettone Pandoro preferred
- 15 Tbsps sweet Marsala (divided 6 + 9) can substitute Brandy or Rum
- 2 eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup caster sugar regular will work
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 ¾ cup sour cream Original called for 1 lb Mascarpone
- 75 grams dried cranberries
- 125 grams mini chocolate chips (divided 100 grams + 25 grams) or rough chop regular chocolate chips
- 100 grams pistachios (divided 75 grams and 25 grams) shelled, rough chopped
- 2 Tbsps pomegranate seeds fresh
- Line the base of your spring form pan with parchment paper. This is to help you slide the finished cake to a serving platter when done.
- Cut the panettone into roughly 1" cubes.
- Beat the eggs with the sugar until light and frothy. Beat in the sour cream and then the whipping cream and 9 Tbsps Marsala. Beat until mixture is thick and spreadable. Transfer 1 cup to a separate container and reserve. You will use this to top the cake just before serving.
- Rough chop the pistachios, dried cranberries and chocolate chips (not necessary if using mini chocolate chips).
- Set aside and reserve 25 grams each of the chocolate chips and pistachos. You will use these to decorate the top of the cake when ready to serve. Add the remaining chocolate chips and pistachios to the remaining cream mixture.
- Line the bottom of the spring form pan with ⅓ of the panettone pieces. Sprinkle 2 Tbsps of the Marsala evenly over the bottom layer. Lightly press the panettone together so the cream mixture will soak in not drip through the bottom. Cover with ½ the cream mixture.
- Make a second solid layer of panettone pieces, drizzle with 2 Tbsps Marsala and cover with the 2nd half of the cream mixture.
- Make a top layer of panettone pieces and sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbsps Marsala. Smooth the layer out and press lightly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.
- When you are ready to serve, unmold the spring form pan. Use an offset spatula to gently transfer the cake from the spring form bottom to your serving plate. The parchment paper will come with you so just be aware that you don't cut in to it when you are serving.
- Slather the top with the reserved cream mixture. Traditionally the sides are left bare but you can 'ice' the side lightly as well if you have enough cream mixture. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate chips, reserved pistachios and pomegranate arils evenly over the top.
- Slice and serve.
- The cake should be served within 2 days from the point of assembly. Leftovers will keep another day or so but be aware the cake will get a bit softer and soggier with each passing day. Leftovers can be frozen in an airtight container up to 3 months. The defrosted cake is very soft so presentation is compromised somewhat but it still tasted delicious.
- Freezing: You can assemble the cake and refrigerate overnight. To freeze up to 3 months spread the reserved cream mixture on top of the cake and refrigerate another 6 hours. Unmould the cake and 'open' freeze it on the serving base you plan to use. Once frozen solid, wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil and freeze up to 3 months. When ready to serve unwrap the cake and defrost on its serving plate overnight in the fridge. Sprinkle the cream top with remaining pistachios, chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds just before serving. Consume within 2 days of defrosting.