Donizetti Cake

Gaetano Donizetti is one of the most beloved composers of all time. His home city of Bergamo created a cake in his honour. Legend has it that Donizetti - who wrote The Elixir of Love and Lucia di Lammermoor - was suffering from a broken heart when he went to visit fellow composer Gioachino Rossini for dinner.

Rossini was sad to see his friend not enjoying his meal. Rossini, passionate about food, asked his cook to prepare something sweet to lift Donizetti’s spirits. The cook added candied apricots, pineapple and maraschino cherries to a traditional sponge and thus the
Donizetti cake was created.

Today the Donizetti cake is a staple in Donizetti’s home city of Bergamo and it is widely said that a piece of Donizetti cake can mend a broken heart.

You can try this treat at Subiaco eatery Eli & Matt Patisserie, or roll up your sleeves and get baking at home using this recipe created by Cooking with Opera's Daniele Foti-Cuzzola. 



  • 255g butter at room temperature 
  • 140g sugar 
  • 8 egg yolks 
  • 4 egg whites 
  • 85g plain flour 
  • 110g potato starch 
  • 85g candied pineapple diced 
  • 120g candied apricot diced
  • 1 tablespoon Maraschino cherries
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence  
  • Icing sugar to serve 


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees and butter a doughnut shaped spring form tin. 
  2. With an electric mixer combine butter and 120g of the sugar on high speed for one minute or until well combined. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue to mix on medium speed. 
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the four egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and butter mixture. 
  4. Mix ingredients on a low-medium speed and while the motor is running gradually add the flour and potato starch, followed by the candied pineapple, apricot, maraschino cherry and vanilla essence until well combined. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. 
  6. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tin, before removing onto a wire rack. Allow to cool and serve with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar.