Spumoni Cake, an Italian inspired homemade cake with all the spumoni ice cream flavors including cherry, chocolate, and pistachio. This from-scratch colorful striped two-layer cake is frosted with an Italian meringue buttercream frosting and perfect for the holidays including Christmas dessert.
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I was a little giddy that this from scratch striped Spumoni Cake actually worked! I’ve been thinking about trying it out for a while and actually got the idea in the middle of the night. I love those chocolate and vanilla striped zebra cakes and thought I’d give it a try with 4 flavors instead of 2. And those flavors being inspired by Italian spumoni ice cream including cherry, chocolate, and pistachio. Crazy fun, and delicious!
My Cannoli Cake recipe has been so super popular that I couldn’t help but come up with another Italian inspired layered cake recipe. This Spumoni Cake has 2 large layers but the recipe could easily be cut in half for one layer, or make the cake extra large for a 3 layer or 4 layer cake.
This spumoni cake is probably not really for beginner bakers. If you are more of a beginner I’d suggest skipping the Italian Meringue Buttercream frosting and making an American buttercream or even this Cream Cheese Frosting. The Italian Meringue is a bit tricky.
The Italian Meringue Buttercream is also not very sweet (which I personally like for this cake) and has a bit of a butter taste to it, so definitely not for everyone.
This cake will feed a lot of people. I put the servings as 24 but since it’s a rather rich and rather tall layered cake, a small sliver is probably enough for most people. So you could probably get way more than 24 slices out of the cake for most occasions. The cake is a bit dense so rather filling as well.
First, maybe we should talk about spumoni…
What is Spumoni
Spumoni generally refers to Italian ice cream (or sometimes a molded gelato) that has cherry, chocolate (or sometimes vanilla), and pistachio flavored ice cream. It sometimes includes candied fruit, fruit, and/or nuts. Spumoni is the plural of spumone but in the U.S, you generally just hear everything referred to as “spumoni”. Depending on where you live, spumoni ice cream can be hard to find although Edy’s does carry the flavor.
Spumoni vs. Neopolitan
Neopolitan is another popular flavor combination, but with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry and again spumoni flavors are generally chocolate (sometimes vanilla), cherry, and pistachio.
Equipment You May Need
To make things a little easier, you might want to consider some of this equipment for this particular cake recipe…
- Cake Pans – I used two 9-inch round cake pans. You could possibly use 8-inch round pans but there’s a lot of cake batter so it might not all fit into the 8-inch pans.
- Scoops – Large ice cream or cookie dough scoops make spooning the cake batter into the pans a lot easier. Ideally, 4 scoops would be perfect, but I realize that’s a lot so you could use one and clean between cake batter layers. You could use just regular spoons or a small measuring cup as well.
- Cake Pan Strips – These cake pan strips that you wet and place around your cake pans help the cake layers from doming too much in the middle. I’ve had good luck with them!
- Cake Tester – You can just use a toothpick, but a cake tester is a nice inexpensive little “gadget” to have around.
- Parchment Paper Rounds – I love using parchment paper rounds for cake. They make it easier for the cakes to come right out of the pan.
- Piping Bags & Tips – If you want to decorate your cake, a good piping bag and tips set is perfect.
- Scale – You’ll need to divide the cake batter in half, then divide one of those halves into three. To make it easier you can use a kitchen scale rather than just eyeing it. Just make sure to deduct the weight of the bowls when weighing.
- Candy Thermometer – If you decide to make the Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting, you’ll need a good candy thermometer.
- Stand Mixer – Again, if you are making the frosting (rather than a different kind…), a stand mixer will make your life a lot easier. I generally just use a hand mixer for most of my recipes, but for this frosting, it’s really a must.
- Cake Stand – With all the work you’ll put into this cake, a cute cake stand will elevate this gourmet cake to the next level.
(Full printable recipe card is at bottom of post.)
Spumoni Cake Ingredients
- Butter (or Shortening) & Flour – Just a little for the cake pans if desired. I also like to use parchment paper rounds.
- All-Purpose Flour – Regular flour.
- Baking Powder – Check the date and make sure it’s still good.
- Salt – Just a little.
- Granulated Sugar – Regular sugar.
- Eggs – Whole eggs including both the whites and yolks (the frosting uses just whites).
- Vegetable Oil – Or canola oil. You probably could use melted butter but I have not tried it in this recipe.
- Milk – I’d use 2% or whole.
- Vanilla Extract – Or can use your favorite flavoring.
- Chocolate Pudding Mix – The dry instant pudding mix. Do NOT prepare the pudding. You just want the dry mix.
- Pistachio Pudding Mix – Again, just the dry instant pudding mix.
- Cherry Gelatin – Just the dry powder as in JELL-O or your favorite brand.
Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting Ingredients
- Egg Whites – Whites only. Save the yolks for something else like this Hollandaise Sauce.
- Granulated Sugar – Regular sugar.
- Cream of Tartar – Helps stabilize the whipped egg whites.
- Water – Tap water is fine.
- Salt – Just a little.
- Butter – There’s a lot of butter in this BUTTERcream so be sure to use a good quality butter and not margarine.
- Vanilla Extract – Or use your favorite extract or flavoring.
Garnish Ingredients (optional)
- Chocolate Chips – I used mini chocolate chips but chopped chocolate would also work well.
- Pistachios – Pistachios can be a little expensive so chop them up to make them go a little further on the cake and just use a little if you want.
- Maraschino Cherries – The perfect topping for this cake!
How to Make Spumoni Cake
- PREHEAT. Preheat oven and prep cake pans.
- DRY INGREDIENTS. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.
- WET INGREDIENTS. Beat together granulated sugar, eggs, oil, milk, and vanilla.
- COMBINE. Combine dry and wet ingredients.
- DIVIDE. Divide cake batter in half then one half into three equal parts in different bowls.
- FLAVOR. Add the chocolate pudding mix, pistachio pudding mix, and cherry gelatin mix to each of one of the 3 smaller bowls and mix to combine.
- STRIPES. Alternate adding spoonfuls of cake batter to cake pans.
- TAP. Tap pans lightly on countertop to reduce air bubbles.
- BAKE. Bake the cakes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
- BUTTERCREAM. Beat together egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar til soft peaks.
- HEAT SUGAR. Heat sugar and water in small saucepan until 240 degrees F.
- COMBINE. Slowly add hot sugar to egg whites while beating. Continue beating until frosting is completely cool. Add salt.
- BUTTER. Continue beating and add a little butter at a time then vanilla.
- FROST. Frost and garnish cake as desired.
(Full printable recipe card with full details is at bottom of post.)
- This cake should be served at room temperature. If it’s in the refrigerator I’d remove it about a half-hour to an hour before you want to serve it so that it’s room temperature and so the frosting can soften. Although, it is good right out of the fridge.
- I garnished the cake with mini chocolate chips, chopped pistachios, and maraschino cherries, so you don’t really need to top the cake with anything else. Although a little vanilla, cherry, chocolate, pistachio, or even spumoni ice cream would be a great addition on the side.
- Serve with your favorite after-dinner drink like coffee, espresso, liqueur, or dessert cocktail.
Quick Tips for Best Results
- Be sure to tap the cake pans at least a few times once the batter is in them to help get rid of a lot of the air bubbles and help prevent “holes” in the cake. You may still have some air bubbles but don’t worry, that’s ok.
- If you want brighter colored stripes, you can add a little food coloring to each flavored batter.
- The pudding mix does tend to make the cake batter a little thick. That’s ok! But if you can try to use the batter quickly before it thickens too much.
- Use a separate scoop or spoon for each cake batter flavor or be sure to clean the scoop/spoon before adding the next batter.
- The frosting does take a bit of time so be patient. I strongly recommend using a stand mixer for best results.
Spumoni Cake FAQ
How should I store the Spumoni Cake?
You can store this cake at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Can I freeze the Spumoni Cake?
Yes! The cake will freeze well but just be sure to wrap it well.
How long will the cake last?
The cake will last about 2-3 days or so at room temperature and probably about a week in the refrigerator and about 2-3 months in the freezer.
The Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting is a bit tricky and time-consuming to make. If you’d prefer you can use your favorite homemade or store-bought frosting. Instead of frosting you could also turn this into a spumoni ice cream cake by putting ice cream between the cake layers. Rather than the chocolate, pistachio, and cherry pudding and gelatin dry mixes you can use your favorite flavors.
Can I use low-fat ingredients?
You can use lower-fat milk in the cake recipe. As far as the frosting it really needs the butter for best results, but you could substitute a different frosting recipe.
What else can I add to this recipe?
You could add your favorite extracts to the cake batter or to strengthen the flavors of the chocolate, cherry, and pistachio. You could also add a little food coloring to each of the flavored cake batters to brighten the color more.
Can I make this vegan/vegetarian/low carb/gluten-free?
Here are some suggestions, but I can’t guarantee results. Be sure as always to check particular brands and ingredients if you’re following a specific diet or have diet restrictions or allergies.
Vegan – There is a lot of butter, eggs, milk, etc. in this recipe so would be tough to make vegan.
Vegetarian – Check the gelatin to make sure it’s vegetarian friendly or use a cherry extract instead.
Low-Carb – There’s a lot of sugar in this recipe so it would be tough but you could try a sugar substitute and low sugar pudding and gelatin mixes.
Gluten-Free – You can try a gluten-free baking flour that has a 1:1 substitute ratio for all-purpose flour.
Other Italian Dessert Recipes You May Enjoy
- Cannoli Martini – A fun dessert cocktail inspired by the popular Italian pastry.
- Tiramisu Cookies – Delicious cookies inspired by Tiramisu.
- Italian Sprinkle Cookies – Tasty little cookies with a quick glaze and topped with colorful sprinkles.
Hope you enjoy this homemade Spumoni cake recipe. Tell me in the comments if you made any changes! Or wait to give it a try for National Spumoni Day (August 21st).
- butter (or shortening) & flour for pans
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups vegetable oil (or canola oil)
- 2 cups milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 Tablespoons instant chocolate pudding mix (dry mix, not prepared)
- 2 Tablespoons instant pistachio pudding mix (dry mix, not prepared)
- 2 Tablespoons cherry gelatin mix (dry mix, not prepared)
Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter (or grease with shortening) and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and/or line with parchment paper rounds.
- In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt until well combined. Set aside.
- In a large bowl beat together the 1 3/4 cups of granulated sugar and 8 eggs with an electric mixer until well combined. Add the oil, milk, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
- Spoon half of the batter into another bowl. Then evenly divide the remaining half of the batter into 3 small bowls. Use a scale if you'd like to divide evenly (make sure to deduct the weight of the bowls).
- Set the bowl with half of the yellow cake batter aside. Add the dry chocolate pudding mix to one of the 3 small bowls. The dry pistachio pudding mix to another, and the dry cherry gelatin mix to the last. Mix each to combine.
- To make the stripes for the cake you'll need to alternate adding the cake batter to each pan. With a large scoop add about 3 Tablespoons of the plain yellow cake batter to the middle of each can pan. With a clean scoop then add about 3 Tablespoons of the cherry cake batter directly on top of the yellow cake batter just in the middle so that the cherry cake batter does not go all the way to the edge of the yellow cake batter underneath. Then add another 3 Tablespoons of the yellow cake batter, then 3 Tablespoons of the chocolate cake batter, then the yellow cake batter, then the pistachio, then the yellow cake batter. Keep alternating between the yellow cake batter and the 3 flavored until all the batter is gone. Starting and ending with the plain yellow cake batter if you can. The cake batter will spread to the edge of the pan as you add more batter on top each time.
- Lightly tap the cake pans on the countertop several times to help get rid of any air pockets in the cake batter.
- Bake the cakes at 350 degrees F for about 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the middle of each cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes slightly in the pans then remove from pans and place on wire racks to finish cooling. Cool cakes completely.
- To make buttercream frosting, beat together the 8 large egg whites, 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and 1 teaspoon of cream of tartar with a stand electric mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks. (A stand mixer makes things much easier for this recipe if you can.)
- Meanwhile, mix together remaining 1 3/4 cup of granulated sugar and water in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat until mixture reaches 240 degrees F using a candy thermometer.
- Continue beating egg whites on medium-high speed while very slowly adding hot sugar mixture. Be careful to not add too quickly or you will curdle the eggs. Continue to whip after the sugar mixture is fully incorporated and until mixture and bowl are cool, about 10-15 minutes. Beat in salt. Make sure it's completely cool before next step (otherwise butter will melt).
- While mixer is still on medium-high speed add the butter a few tablespoons at a time. Then beat in 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Keep beating until buttercream is thick and smooth.
- Frost and decorate cake as desired with large spatula and/or piping bag with tips. Garnish with chocolate chips, pistachios, and maraschino cherries as desired. Store cake at room temperature (or in the refrigerator if more than a few days).
- The Italian Meringue Buttercream Frosting is not very sweet and a bit tricking and time-consuming. You can substitute your favorite frosting.
- The pudding mixes in the cake batter can turn the batter a bit thick so try to work quickly.
- You can add food coloring to the different flavored cake batter for a more pronounced color if you'd like.
- The Italian Meringue frosting is a bit of work and I strongly recommend using a stand mixer. Be careful when working with the hot sugar mixture as it can splatter and burn badly.