Donizetti cake, recipe, legend and true history – Italian Cuisine

Typical dessert of Bergamo, which seems to have been born in honor of the famous Bergamo musician and composer Gaetano Donizetti

A simple and quick dessert, similar to Margherita cake but with the typical a shape donut and with the addition of candied apricots and pineapples and flavored with vanilla and maraschino. Let's find out together the legend behind this delicious recipe and the true story unknown to many.

Donizetti cake: the legend

Legend has it that one evening the Bergamo Gaetano Donizetti and colleague and friend Gioacchino Rossini, were to have dinner together, but that the former was grieved and heartbroken because of a love penalty that did not give him peace and that had taken away his smile and even his appetite. It was then that Rossini, tired of seeing his friend afflicted and in order not to be completely ruined the dinner, asked his personal chef to prepare a simple, fast and capable dessert to bring back a good mood to the musician and composer. The cook went to work and came back victorious with a soft donut covered with icing sugar, which revealed candied apricots and pineapples and the unmistakable flavor of vanilla and maraschino, apparently the cake apparently liked very much to Donizetti and since then among the streets of the city it is easy to hear these words echoing "if you have love sickness, a slice of Turta del Donizèt is enough and everything passes".

Donizetti cake: the real story

Although the legend just told may seem likely and decidedly suggestive, the truth is another. In fact, this dessert was not invented by Rossini's cook, but created and patented by Alessandro Balzer in 1948, on the occasion of the centenary of Donizetti's death (April 8, 1848). For those who know Bergamo the Balzer is a fixed destination for breakfasts and snacks in the name of genuine sweetness, it is the historic pastry shop that has overlooked the Sentierone since 1936, one of the most important and famous avenues in Bergamo, right in front of the Donizetti Theater . A brilliant invention was that of the then owner and pastry chef Alessandro Balzer, who decided to pay homage to the most famous musician from Bergamo and one of the most famous operatives of the nineteenth century dedicating him a very special dessert, easily replicable at home.

The recipe for the Donizetti cake

The Donizetti Cake has become in all respects one of the symbolic desserts of the city, whose recipe filed must meet the requirements established by the regulation of the brand "BERGAMO, City of a Thousand … flavors". In addition, to celebrate the great composer, on April 8, the date of his death, it became the National Day of Turta del Donizèt.

Donizetti cake ingredients

260 g butter
150 g sugar
100 g starch
80 g 00 flour
120 g cubed candied pineapple
80 g cubed candied apricot
8 yolks
4 egg whites
1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon of maraschino


Whip the butter together with 120 grams of sugar, add the yolks one at a time and mix well. Beat the four egg whites with the remaining 15 grams of sugar until stiff and slowly add to the previous mixture. Gradually add the flour, the starch and then the candied apricot and pineapple, together with the aromas of maraschino and vanilla. Grease a 24/26 cm diameter donut-shaped hinge mold, pour the mixture, put in the oven at 180 ° for about 40 minutes. Let cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

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