Originally published April 1, 2011, Updated on 11/8/20
Today's recipe is based on my HUSBAND's favorite ice cream flavor when he was a kid!
An interesting thing about marrying a man from a different country is that you can expose each other to all sorts of new things.
While he'd never heard of Tiger Tail Ice Cream , I'd never heard of HIS favorite ice cream flavor - Spumoni.
Of course I had to use it as inspiration for a cake flavor!
What is Spumoni?
Spumoni is both a type of dessert, and an ice cream flavour.
As a dessert, it’s a type of molded gelato - think like an ice cream bombe - that originated in Italy. The 3 layers of gelato had layers of candied fruit and nuts in between them. Sometimes there was cake involved, sometimes there was even booze involved.
Spumoni was introduced to the US in the late 1800s, though in a slightly different form - as Neapolitan ice cream. Chocolate, Strawberry, and Vanilla were the most popular flavours of ice cream in the US at that time.
As an ice cream flavour, “Spumoni” refers to not that Neapolitan ice cream version, but something more closely resembling the original: Layers of Chocolate, Cherry, and Pistachio Ice Cream.
Spumoni in Cake Form
I’d never actually come across Spumoni before moving to the US, so I had NO experience with it whatsoever.
My husband was sort of horrified, and decided to rectify that problem immediately. I don’t remember what brand of Spumoni ice cream it was that he picked up, but that one became the inspiration for this recipe.
As is traditional, it was three layers of ice cream: Cherry, Pistachio, and Chocolate. The cherry layer had maraschino cherry bits in it, the pistachio layer had pistachios in it, and the chocolate layer had coconut in it.
When designing the cake recipe around it, I elected to use 2 flavours in the cake itself, and use the 3rd flavour of the frosting.
After considering all of the various combinations, the ingredients, etc, I decided that making chocolate and cherry cake layers, frosted with pistachio would be the best way to go!
As with the source material, my chocolate cake layers have coconut included, and the cherry cake has cherry bits.
The frosting makes use of Pistachio butter, rather than pistachio pudding.
I like the richness of the pistachio butter flavour, and have never really found pistachio pudding to taste like pistachios.
This recipe is definitely one of the more labor, cost, and ingredient intensive cake recipes featured in my (then!) latest cookbook, " Evil Cake Overlord"... but don’t be discouraged!
It's not actually difficult to make, so just follow through the steps - I guarantee you’ll be rewarded for the effort!
The Public Debut of This Spumoni Cake
As you may know by now, when it comes to cake competitions... I’m a troll. The fancier the competition / competition venue, the more weird I tend to get with things.
My Record of Cake Trolling
The “A Chocolate Affair” fancypants chocolate show and competition? The required theme for their wedding cakes was “animals”.
So, after wracking my brain trying to decide which animal I wanted to feature, I went with a full out “Tremors” themed wedding cake. Grabboids are animals, right?
Besides, chocolate was the point of the competition, and going with “Tremors” as a theme let me have fun with marbling a few different chocolate fondants to create the rocky cliff look for the cake.
The cakes had to be “Food and wine themed”. All of the marketing for the competition was about “crazy cakes”, “INSANE cakes!", and “Cakes to Die For!”...
... so I went super literal with it: A liver, fava bean, and Chianti “Silence of the Lambs” themed cake. With, you know, sugar Death's Head mothers, and a gory, full sized bust of Hannibal’s victim.
Like ya do.
The Benefit of Trolling with Cake
My weird approach to cake competitions actually worked out really well for profiling purposes.
These shows are opportunities to showcase your work to potential customers, and my entry DEFINITELY attracted my favourite demographic of brides: nerds, geeks, fandom crowd, kinda weird, FUN brides!
One of my favourite outcomes from this tactic was my Bubble Bobble Wedding Cake.
Yes, the most ridiculously twee cake I’ve ever made - the cutest wedding cake I’ve ever even seen - resulted because the bride loved my gross Silence of the Lambs cake.
This Year’s Czar of Cakes Entry
This year - surprised I was actually invited back - I decided to go in another direction.
Last year, the rest of the entries were all based around fancy foods, fitting in with the show and its demographic. There cheese/grapes/wine was the common design theme direction.
This year, I decided to do an actual food themed cake, but to go in the opposite direction: Foods that absolutely would not be showcased at the Food & Wine Show.
The “wine”? Had a custom mold made of a bottle of Boone’s Farm. From there, I molded sugar bottles and printed Boone’s labels onto a frosting sheet.
I threw in a “Milwaukee’s Best” case of beer cake layer for good measure.
Some pieces were “cake” (Foam, as is standard for competition cakes), some were sculpted from Rice Krispy Treats. Everything covered in fondant and hand painted with food colouring.
Oh, and the whole thing was raised up on cinder blocks and rigged with a hidden speaker / MP3 player to play “Duelling Banjos”.
Anyway, due to the nature of my competition cake design, I decided to go over-the-top in the other direction - fancy! - when it came to the taster cake we were to provide to the judges.
So, Spumoni cake it was!
Well, I didn’t win for design, BUT...
... I was floored when Dara Moskovitz Grumdahl - one of the judges - declared that I could open a cake shop in Brooklyn based on the strength of this flavor alone. SCORE!!
Additionally, this cake has received one of the most bizarre compliments I've ever heard:
Upon presenting it to an expert mold maker who did the Boone’s Farm bottle mold for me, he informed me that I was "the future Ex Mrs" mold maker! LOL!
I had given him a large chunk of cake, left from when I made my taster slices for the competition.
Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is this:
Whether you're looking to open such a bakery, impress your future ex husband, or just make a fantastic cake for the people you love, this flavor is a definite winner.
Interested in making wickedly delicious cakes? You'll LOVE my second cookbook, Evil Cake Overlord!
We've long been known for our “ridiculously delicious” moist cakes and tasty, unique flavors. Now, you can have recipes for all of the amazing flavors on our former custom cake menu, and many more!
Bake your moist work of gastronomic art, then fill and frost your cake with any number of tasty possibilities. Milk chocolate cardamom pear, mango mojito.. even our famous Chai cake – the flavor that got us into “Every Day with Rachel Ray” magazine!
Feeling creative? Use our easy to follow recipe to make our yummy fondant. Forget everything you’ve heard about fondant – ours is made from marshmallows and powdered sugar, and is essentially candy – you can even flavor it!
More Cake Recipes!
Looking for more ridiculously delicious cake recipes? As the "Evil Cake Overlord", I've got you covered! (Ps: Check out my instructions for making Marshmallow Fondant, as well!)
Bundt, Sheet, & Upside Down Cakes
Bananas Foster Upside Down Cake
Brandied Apple Upside Down Cake
Deep N Delicious Cake
French Martini Bundt Cake
French Martini Upside Down Cake
Mango Mojito Upside Down Cake
Pina Colada Bundt Cake
Strawberry Mango Marble Cake
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Well, the published nonsense, anyway!
Anyway, on to that Spumoni Cake Recipe!
Spumoni Cake Recipe
- 3 cups Cake Flour
- 2 ¼ cups Granulated Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Salt
- 3 1.2 oz Instant vanilla pudding mix
- 1 ¼ cup Water divided
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1 ½ cups Butter melted
- ¼ cup Cocoa Powder
- 1 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup Hazelnuts chopped**
- ¼ cup Maraschino Cherry Liquid
- ½ cup Maraschino Cherries finely chopped
- 2 tsp Almond Extract
- Red food coloring
- 1 batch batch Swiss Meringue buttercream
- 3 Tbsp Pistachio Butter softened***
- 1 cup Pistachios chopped
- Green food coloring
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Liberally grease two 8″round cake pans with vegetable shortening, and/or spray with baking spray.
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in 1 cup of water and eggs, beating just until smooth. Carefully add melted butter to the batter, mixing on medium speed until smooth.
- Divide batter evenly into two bowls.
- Add remaining ¼ cup water, cocoa powder, vanilla and hazelnuts to one bowl, stirring until smooth and evenly distributed.
- Add cherry liquid, cherries, and almond extract to second bowl, stirring until well combined and smooth. Tint pink.
- Divide batter among prepared cake pans, one flavor per pan.
- Bake until golden and knife inserted into center of batter comes out clean and cake springs back – about 45-60 minutes.
- Allow to cool 10-15 minutes before turning cakes out onto baking rack to cool fully.
- Ideally, allow to cool to room temperature, wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Allow cake to sit overnight.
- Prepare Swiss meringue buttercream. Add pistachio butter, beating until well incorporated and smooth. Taste, add some more pistachio butter if you like. Tint green, if desired. Add chopped pistachios, stirring until evenly distributed.
To assemble cake:
- Remove plastic wrap from cake layers. Carefully slice the domed top off each round, leveling the surface of the cake.
- Carefully cut each cake in half, horizontally, for 4 thin rounds of cake in all.
- Place one round of cherry cake on cake plate, spread with buttercream. Top with a round of chocolate cake, spread with buttercream. Top with second round of cherry cake. Spread with a final layer of buttercream, and top with remaining layer of cake.
- Frost sides and top of cake with remaining buttercream. Serve at room temperature.
More Cake Photos
Interested in seeing - and reading - more details of some of my favourite cakes I’ve made over the years? Check out these links:
Bubble Bobble Wedding Cake
Clarice, Have the Lambs Stopped Screaming?
Dalek Cake for a Doctor
Lambeth Wedding Cake
Snowflakes Wedding Cake
SO.. I made a Cake for Amanda Palmer (NSFW)
That Time I Made a Cake for a Pack of Klingons
The Story of Foopmallet
TARDIS for Wil Wheaton
Tremors Wedding Cake