Northern Italian buckwheat cake

Northern Italian buckwheat cake

40 mins
Cooking time
40 mins
Deidre Rooney

This cake is surprisingly light and great at teatime with a good strong espresso. Replace the berry filling with jam if you like, but one that isn’t too sweet.

From the grocer


Quantity Ingredient
350g caster sugar
250g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
250g buckwheat flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
a good pinch salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125g almonds, hazelnuts or walnuts, very finely ground
300g frozen berries such as raspberries, blackberries or blackcurrants, or a mixture
150g dried sour cherries or cranberries
200ml red wine or water
5cm piece of cinnamon stick, (optional)
175g creme fraiche
150g mascarpone
1 1/2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra for dusting

From the greengrocer

Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, finely grated zest


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cream together 150 g of the caster sugar with the butter until pale and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and then the egg yolks one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, ground cinnamon and ground nuts.
  2. Beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Whisk in 50 g of the caster sugar and fold in another 50 g of the caster sugar with a spoon. Fold the egg whites into the flour mixture using a large metal spoon, trying not to knock the air out while mixing thoroughly.
  3. Grease two 20 cm round springform cake tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper. Spoon equal amounts of batter into each tin and bake for 30–40 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer into the middle of each cake; it should come out clean.
  4. Meanwhile, put the berries, dried fruit, red wine or water, the remaining caster sugar and cinnamon stick (if using) in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil for about 8 minutes. The syrup should be thick and will thicken more as it cools. Remove the cinnamon stick (if used) and scrape the berries and syrup into a bowl to cool. In a separate bowl, mix together the crème fraîche, mascarpone and icing sugar.
  5. When the cakes are ready, turn them onto a wire rack. When completely cool spread the mascarpone mixture over the top of one cake and spread the syrup on top. Put the other cake on top and dust generously with icing sugar.
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