Diplomatica Classic Italian Cake

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Diplomatica Classic Italian Cake

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Adjust Servings:
For the base
230 g Puff pastry Rectangular shaped
75 g Flour
5 Egg
1 pinch Table salt
150 g Sugar
75 g Potato flour
1 Vanilla bean
As you like Icing sugar For the puff
For the cream
250 ml Whole milk
75 g Sugar
20 g Icing sugar
0.5 Vanilla bean
180 ml Single cream Fresh
25 g Flour
3 Egg yolk
For syrup and for sprinkling
200 ml Water
20 ml Rum
100 g Sugar
As you like Icing sugar

Nutritional information

Serving size
697 Kcal
91.1 g
13.5 g
30.1 g
1.2 g
334 mg
473 mg

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  • For the base

  • For the cream

  • For syrup and for sprinkling



Diplomatica cake is a pride of Italian pastry making, like other preparations such as sponge cakes or millefeuille! The diplomatica cake is made up of layers of puff pastry and a layer of sponge cake, soaked in syrup to make it even softer, all filled with the delicious diplomatica cream, which comes from the union of custard and chantilly cream.

It is not known with certainty which of the two preparations originated first and which was inextricably linked to the other: some report, for example, that the cake thus composed and filled was sent as a gift from a diplomat of the Duchy of Parma to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan.

The diplomatica cake can be prepared either in rectangular or round form and can be brought to the table whole or already divided into small regular portions. In the latter case, you will get mini diplomatica cakes, a small goodness always found in mignon pastry trays.

Let’s start now to see how to prepare this beautiful and very tasty cake, but first let me answer some common questions that those who are trying their hand at making diplomatica for the first time usually ask me (don’t worry, you can safely skip them for the moment and come back to read the answers later, after reading the recipe, to better understand the context) and of course I remind you that grandma is always happy to read your comments about the recipe and see how it turned out for you!

FAQs on diplomatica cake

Is there an alternative to rum?

There are many alternatives to rum. The most popular alternatives used in Italy are alchermes, limoncello, and marsala, but any other type of fortified wine will do the job! You are free to choose.

Can a non-alcoholic syrup be used?

Certainly. You can use just the flavoring if you prefer, but if you don’t like that either, you can make a simple syrup of water, sugar, and vanilla!

Are there other variations of diplomatica cake?

There are variations with ladyfingers and with pandoro, for example. You can also enrich the cream with chocolate chips, strawberries or red fruits, or fill it with a mouthwatering coffee-based diplomatica cream!

Can you prepare the bases of the cake in advance to get ahead of the work?

You can prepare the cream and sponge cake the day before: store the cream in the refrigerator covered with plastic wrap and the sponge cake at room temperature wrapped in plastic wrap. However, I recommend assembling the cake at the time to preserve the fragrance of the puff pastry.

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To prepare the diplomatic cake, start by preparing (even the day before) the sponge cake: divide the egg whites from the yolks and beat the latter with half the sugar to make a frothy, puffy, light-yellow mixture. Then beat the egg whites until they become stiff, add the remaining sugar then combine the beaten egg whites with the beaten yolks. Add the flour, seeds of a vanilla bean and potato flour (alternatively you can use cornstarch) sifted together, mix everything with a wooden spoon until it becomes smooth. Grease and flour a rectangular mold measuring 26x20 cm (or a round baking pan with a diameter of 24 cm) and pour the mixture into the mold. Preheat the oven to 180° C (356° F) static and bake your sponge cake for at least 35-40 minutes without ever opening the oven in the first half hour of baking, otherwise the cake will deflate (for ventilated oven 160° C (320° F) for 30 minutes). Remove the mold from the oven and let the sponge cake cool in the mold before unmolding. Once cool, cut off all four edges of the sponge cake, trying to make them as straight as possible (pictures 1-2). Remove the outer crust as well and cut out, from the resulting rectangle, a layer about 1.5/2 cm (picture 3) thick and keep it aside.


For the diplomatic cream start with the custard: heat the milk in a small pot with half a vanilla bean and its seeds; beat the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl with a whisk then add the flour (alternatively you can use cornstarch). Using tongs, remove the vanilla bean and pour the heated milk over the mixture in a trickle, mixing with the whisk. Return the mixture to the heat and stir continuously until the custard has thickened. Transfer the custard to a bowl and let it cool, storing it with a sheet of plastic wrap. Move on to the chantilly cream: pour the well-cold cream into the bowl of a planetary mixer fitted with a whisk (Alternatively, you can use an electric whisk) and whip it. When the cream has reached a full-bodied consistency, add the sifted icing sugar, and mix it with the cream, stirring with a spatula (picture 4). When the custard is completely cold, add the chantilly cream (picture 5) and dilute the two creams with a whisk until you obtain a frothy, smooth and homogeneous mass (picture 6).

You can read more details about how to make the sponge cake here.


Now devote yourselves to the puff pastry layers: lightly roll out, with a rolling pin, the ready-made puff pastry (picture 7) and cut out with a small knife two rectangles measuring 23x18 cm (picture 8). The dimensions of the puff pastry are a few cm shorter than those of the sponge cake because the puff pastry tends to swell during baking. Transfer the two rectangles to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and pierce them with the tines of a fork (picture 9).


Now sprinkle them with icing sugar (picture 10) and bake them in a static oven at 180°C (356°F) for 12-13 minutes (for ventilated oven 160°C (320°F) for 10 minutes), until their surface is golden brown (picture 11). Now prepare the syrup: put the water and sugar in a small pot (picture 12) and melt well;


when you have obtained a thick syrup, turn off the heat and add the rum (picture 13). Add the rum only when the heat is off otherwise it will evaporate. You can now compose the diplomatica cake: place one of the two sheets (picture 14) on a serving plate and sprinkle it with diplomatica cream, spreading it with a spatula (picture 15) and taking care to leave half a cm of space from the edge.


Now take the layer of sponge cake and lay it on top of the cream to form the second layer of diplomatica (picture 16). Generously moisten the sponge cake with 2-3 tablespoons of warmed rum syrup (picture 17) then sprinkle it with a layer of diplomatic cream (picture 18).


Now finish with the last layer of puff pastry (picture 19) and you have your diplomatica cake (picture 20) ready! All that's missing is the final finishing touch: a generous sprinkling of icing sugar (picture 21) and the diplomatica is ready to be eaten! Serve it whole or cut into rectangular or square pieces!



You can store diplomatica in the refrigerator covered with foil for up to 3 days.
You can freeze the diplomatica and thaw it in the refrigerator the day before eating it.
You can also freeze the cooked sponge cake (be sure it is well wrapped in foil) the uncooked pastry and the diplomatica cream separately.


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