Italian Latteruolo (Pudding) Cake
It dances off of the tongue: Latteruolo. I have started to obsess over Tuscan cooking and baking. Maybe it is the simplicity and symphony of flavors and straightforward techniques. Other Italian regions have drawn my interest: Neopolitan, Istrian (which is the most Italian influenced region of the Croatian coast), and the Emilia-Romagna region, where the Latteruolo cake comes from.
I made it for a dinner party two years ago, and it was proper pudding consistency: soft, milky, but perhaps a little bland (I personally love the taste of creamy, silky vanilla). This time, I decided to bump it up a little bit. I added some Grand Mariner, orange juice, extract, and the all important flavor enhancer: rind. Then, I bumped up the flour a little bit to make up for the additional liquid, and baked the cake closer to the top rack in the oven.
What I got was somewhere between a bright orange pudding cake and a more cake-like top layer/crust, almost like the textured rich brown bark-like cheesecake crust one might get when baking one of the Italian variety. My boyfriend, who spent many childhood summers in the south of France, took to it immediately. Oddly enough, he was the one who found the original version a little “bland.” He said it reminded him of a small French pastry called Canale, with a rum and vanilla custard center. This was a very, very good thing.
The best part is that this Latteruolo takes no time at all, and you can flavor it with orange, lemon, or any kind of rind-juice-liqueur at all (sometimes just the liqueur is enough). If you like the custard-like layer the most, cut the baking time by 5-10 minutes, or just bake lower down in the oven. I love the graduation of custard to cake to soft crust, so I’m happy just as it is.
It is an ideal Italian breakfast. Coffee included.
Italian Latteruolo Pudding Cake
- 2 cups Whole milk
- 1/3 cup Granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- Rind of Two oranges
- 1/2 tsp Orange juice
- 1 tbsp Grand Mariner
- 1/2 tsp Orange extract
- 1/3 cup All purpose flour
- 6 Egg yolks
- 2 Egg whites
- Pinch Salt
- Confectioners Sugar and additional orange slices for garnish (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease and flour a cake pan (square, round, 8-9 inch is fine).
- In a saucepan, mix the sugar with the milk over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and make sure the liquid is only simmering and not boiling. Keep mixing every 5 minutes or so and let simmer for 40 minutes. Set aside to cool completely.
- Beat the egg yolks together until creamy and add the flour, making sure to incorporate into the mixture completely.
- Very slowly, add in the cooled milk and whisk vigorously as you add the milk. The mix might try to separate, but keep whisking and it will come together, as long as you add the milk slowly. Set aside.
- Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and, by hand, fold the egg whites into the egg yolk/milk mixture and keep folding until the whites are fully mixed in, without letting the mix go flat.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes or until the outside is golden brown, or where you want the consistency. You can check with a toothpick for a little custard or a clean toothpick, and take the cake out when it is to your liking. Allow to cool in pan and dust with confectioners sugar and/or orange slices for garnish.
- The inner consistency of the cake is up to you–bake on the top rack if you want more of that brown textured crust aka cheesecake consistency, or in the middle rack for more custard.
- Your toothpick will tell you where the inside of the cake is at–take out earlier than 30 minutes if the cake is more custard-like (it should still not be covered in batter); or around 30 minutes if you want that Canale like graduation from custard at the bottom to cake on top.
- You can make the cake with just vanilla, or a combo of lemon juice, rind, extract, and/or Limoncello, or try just adding a little Frangelico and hazelnuts. The choices with custard are wide open. Have fun with this delicious little rustic Italian cake!