Italian Love Cake
This Italian Love Cake is like no other cake. It is so unique with incredible layers of flavor. This cake is guaranteed to be a hit!
A DELICIOUS, EASY CAKE
There’s nothing quite as delicious or comforting as a freshly baked Italian Love Cake – and particularly one that you make with love! Whether you’ve been baking for years, or are just getting started in the kitchen, this Italian inspired dessert is sure to bring smiles of appreciation from everyone around the table. So gather up your ingredients and let’s get started on creating a dessert that’ll have your friends and family saying “Molto bene!”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Italian Love Cake is an Italian-American dessert. It typically consists of layers of chocolate cake, sweetened ricotta cheese, and a pudding-like layer made with instant pudding mix, milk and whipped topping.
I tried to find an answer to that question but like many interestingly-named recipes, the origins are unclear. Some say that the name was given to the cake by Italian-American immigrants who wanted to honor their Italian heritage by combining a traditional Italian ingredient (ricotta cheese) with American flavors and ingredients.
I know ricotta is not everyone’s cup of tea but It is traditional for this recipe. I know it can seem a bit unconventional to use in a sweet dessert. It makes for a very creamy and moist layer and I personally don’t taste it as a separate ingredient but I get that it can be a texture issue for some people. If you absolutely cannot bring yourself to use it then you can try mascarpone cheese (next best thing) or softened cream cheese (same amounts).
Certainly! Any pudding, cake mix combo should work for this easy recipe. The options are endless and will turn out incredible no matter what you choose.
You can make your own favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe and your favorite chocolate pudding recipe if you like. I have not tested any of that so couldn’t tell you exactly how to proceed but it seems like it would be pretty straightforward. You can make this recipe as difficult and as complicated as you enjoy!
Just make your own whipped cream. In place of the whipped topping, whip 2 cups of heavy whipping cream with ½ cup powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract until stiff peaks start to form, then fold it into the pudding mixture. Fold in half at a time until there are no more streaks in the mixture. Keep in mind, fresh whipped cream isn’t as stabilized as Cool Whip so this may not last as long in the fridge before it starts to break down.
Because it is a heavier layer than the chocolate cake so it naturally sinks down. However, don’t go trying to layer the ricotta layer first then the chocolate cake. It’s important it is layered on top of the chocolate cake layer to give the cake a chance to cook evenly without over cooking the ricotta layer.
I like this cake chilled but some may like it room temperature. Just don’t leave it out too long or the layers can break down a bit and change texture.
Italian Love Cake should be refrigerated when you aren’t serving it. If covered and stored properly in the fridge, it should keep for up to 5 days. If you want to keep it longer, it can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months.
INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)
- chocolate cake mix
- ingredients to make the cake: eggs, oil and water
- ricotta cheese
- large eggs
- granulated sugar
- vanilla extract
- cold milk
- instant chocolate pudding mix
- whipped topping (Cool Whip)
HOW TO MAKE AN ITALIAN LOVE CAKE
Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it, like Baker’s Joy). Prepare the cake mix as per the instructions on the back of the box (along with the amounts for eggs, oil and water it calls for) and pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
Using an electric hand mixer, mix the ricotta, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture becomes smooth.
Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the cake batter in the baking dish.
Bake the cake for about 1 hour and then place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
In a large bowl, pour the milk and gradually add the pudding mix while mixing it thoroughly.
Add half of the whipped topping and mix it in well. Then add the remaining whipped topping and mix it until it is well combined with no streaks.
Smooth the topping on top of the cake evenly.
Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Slice the cake and serve.
CRAVING MORE RECIPES?
Italian Love Cake
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- ingredients to make the cake: eggs oil and water
- 32 ounce container ricotta cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups cold milk
- 5.9 ounce box instant chocolate pudding mix
- 16 ounces large tub whipped topping (Cool Whip)
- Preheat your oven to 350°F and spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray (I like the kind that has flour in it, like Baker’s Joy).
- Prepare the cake mix as per the instructions on the back of the box (along with the amounts for eggs, oil and water it calls for) and pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.
- Using an electric hand mixer, mix the ricotta, eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until the mixture becomes smooth.
- Spoon the ricotta mixture on top of the cake batter in the baking dish.
- Bake the cake for about 1 hour and then place it on a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a large bowl, pour the milk and gradually add the pudding mix while mixing it thoroughly.
- Add half of the whipped topping and mix it in well. Then add the remaining whipped topping and mix it until it is well combined with no streaks.
- Smooth the topping on top of the cake evenly.
- Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Slice the cake and serve.
- The flavors taste even better if left to chill overnight.
- You can trade out the pudding and cake mix flavors for a ton of other flavor combos.
- Want to use something else other than ricotta? Try marscapone, softened cream cheese, or a cheesecloth strained Greek yogurt.
- You can make your own whipped topping- use our instructions in the FAQ section.
- Feel free to serve this either chilled or room temperature. If room temp, the layers may start to melt a bit.
- Keep this in the fridge when not serving. You can keep it for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Add some toppings, like chocolate sauce, hot fudge, sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, or crushed cannoli shells.
- You can make less frosting and toppings, we have shared the instructions for that in the post.
“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.
Thank you for this lip-smacking , oh so delicious recipe! Definitely refrigerate overnight before serving – it’s worth the wait! Everyone is raving over the recipe! Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thank you!
Yay – thanks so very much!! You are so kind to take the time to come back and commen – so happy you enjoyed this one!
I’ve been making this cake for years. It is one of the best cakes I’ve ever eaten.
You can also make it with Duncan Hines Fudge Marble cake also. Both are excellent.
Mmmm marble cake sounds great!
I love your recipes. they’re easy and oh so good. thank you. I am making Italian love cake. I shared it too
Thanks so very much Ann! You are so kind! I really hope you love it! It’s a unique cake for sure but really pretty when you cut into it!
I WILL SURELY MAKE THIS CAKE BECAUSE MY HUSBAND IS CHOCOLATE LOVER AND IT SOUNDS SOOOO GOOD! CAN YOU SUBSITUTE COTTAGE CHEESE FOR THE RICOTTA DHEESE? IT COSTS 3 TIMES WHAT THE COTTAGE CHEESE DOES AND I HAVE USED IT IN OTHER RECIPES THAT CALLED FOR RICOTTA CHEESE AND THERE WAS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE TASTE.
I have not tried that no. I definitely substitute it in pasta dishes but not in a baked dish like this. If you try it please let me know how it goes!
I’m excited to make this but I do have a question. Does it matter if the ricotta mixture is added to the pan first then the cake mix. In your instructions it says cake mix first then ricotta, but the picture of the sliced cake looks like ricotta mixture was added to the pan first.
I explain all of that in the FAQ above – there is a reason it needs to be in the order in which I have laid out in the recipe.
I have a question. In the picture it looks like the ricotta layer is on the bottom and the chocolate cake is in the center. So, does the ricotta layer get put in the dish first and then the chocolate cake on top of that?
I explain why that happens in the FAQ above 🙂
I am so sorry -can’t believe I missed your explanation of why the ricotta sinks in the FAQ. I actually looked at those before asking my question and totally missed it.
It’s ok, as you can see here in the comments, you weren’t the only one LOL
If substituting cream cheese for the ricotta, how much should be used?
Same amount. You don’t get quite the same texture with cream cheese but perhaps some people might like that. I understand that ricotta isn’t for everyone 🙂
Can I use a from scratch home made cake instead of a mix. I feel that cake mixes have an after taste to them
This one definitely does not BUT I actually answer that question in the FAQ above 🙂
For a true Italian love cake it needs a little booze of sorts. I’ll replace a little of the water with brandy.
I have never heard of alcohol being in love cake! I did quite a bit of research too. Perhaps it’s a regional thing. I am very familiar with Italian rum cake though – ha!
I’m confused. The picture shows yellow then chocolate then the whipped topping. Did I miss something while reading the instructions. What’s the yellow party seen in the photo for the recipe.
It’s probably from the eggs in the recipe
sure looks yummy can’t wait to make it
Hope you love it! Be sure to come back and let me know what you think!!
I live in england so no idea what your cakes mixes are etc. really good recipes but cannot replicate them , Good luck x
You do actually! I lived in England for 3 years and was able to purchase Cadbury & Betty Crocker cake mixes. In fact, I have a Cadbury cake mix in my cupboard from my trip last month. I bought it at Tesco. But as I also mention above in the FAQ’s, you can use your favorite homemade chocolate cake recipe for this.