Boiled Milk Cake for The Italian Lovesong Cake

Man Cake alert. Presenting in a series…The Italian Lovesong Cake — a cake-upon-cake cake with an old-fashioned Boiled Milk Cake (Torta di Latte Caldo) on the bottom, double-decked with an elegant cheesecake (Torta di Latte Formaggio) that is wrapped in a Ladyfinger Cookie Crumb Crust, and dolloped center stage with a wildly unique Hibiscus Custard (that also doubles as a vegan ice cream recipe —  who knew?). Whew!

Vitruvian Man

Serve this special cake with Piper-Heidsieck champagne on a special occasion, at a special birthday or celebration event, honoring someone who must be intelligent, interesting and charming. 🙂

Slow cooking warning: This cake is part of a special blog series on The Italian Lovesong Cake, starting with this Boiled Milk Cake and White Chocolate & Cream Cheese Frosting, then moving on to the Ladyfinger Cookie Crumb Crust, to the elegant Cheesecake and, finally, to the Hibiscus Custard. The recipes are fairly easy to prepare but time must be set aside as your gift to your guests. The Boiled Milk Cake bakes in graduated temperatures for about one hour and the cheesecake bakes in a “slow oven” with 2 hours of cooling time. The cheesecake and the custard have overnight refrigeration requirements and the cookie crumb is made from scratch cookies. Oh, and did I say that the Hibiscus Custard starts with slow-boiling dried organic Hibiscus flowers?  So, yeah. This is not your mother’s quick box cake recipe. It is a vintage cake re-creation that begs for cool music in the kitchen — with work deadlines set aside — so that you can have fun with it. You can do this!  I’ll show you the way, step by step with tons of photos so that you can re-create it in your own special kitchen.

Note about the Boiled Milk Cake: This cake has the lovely consistency of a somewhat dense tea cake. It needs to be a rather sturdy cake to match the consistency of the cheesecake perfectly and to hold the weight of the cheesecake that rests upon it. It hardens a bit when refrigerated so, if you are baking ahead, it is best not to refrigerate the fully assembled cake too early, but, rather, refrigerate the cheesecake and store the Boiled Milk Cake wrapped and unrefrigerated (or frozen and defrosted) to assemble with the chilled cheesecake just prior to serving. If you want to make this cake on its own without the cheesecake resting upon its lovely head, you might want to double the recipe for the cake and the frosting for a nice 4-layer Boiled Milk Cake for full height (and enjoyment).

Recipe note:

Boiled Milk Cake Ingredients:
1 T unsalted butter (for buttering the pan)
3 large eggs
2 T cold water
2 c sugar
3 c cake flour
1/2 t salt
1 c milk
1 T unsalted butter
1 T vanilla extract, fine quality

Tools Needed for Boiled Milk Cake:
9″ springform pan (note the bottom removable flat pan measures 8-1/2″)
Aluminum foil (for wrapping bottom of cake pan)
Large mixing bowl
Electric mixer
Spatula or wooden spoon
Medium pot (for heating milk, or medium bowl for microwave heating)
Measuring cups & spoons
Small pitcher or pouring device (to pour 1 c hot milk)

Directions for Boiled Milk Cake:
Set oven to 400 degrees with rack at center position.
Prepare a 9″ springform pan by wrapping the outer bottom of the pan with aluminum foil (to catch any stray drips of batter) and buttering it with:
1 T unsalted butter

Important pan size note: The baking pan for this cake must be the exact size as the pan for the cheesecake (to keep the sides uniform), or use the same pan for both cakes.

Checking to be sure the springform pan size will be the same size as the springform cake pan to be used for the cheesecake. The one we used measured 8-1/2″ across the bottom inner flat pan.

Beat in a mixer graduating from low to high-speed for about 3 minutes:
3 large eggs
2 T cold water

Eggs and water locked and loaded…

Beaten eggs with water…

Beat into egg-water mixture, graduating from low to high-speed for about 1 minute in portions:
2 c sugar

Beat into the egg-sugar mixture on medium-speed in one-third portions until fully incorporated:
3 c cake flour
1/2 t salt
Tip: I beat in one cup of flour at a time and I didn’t find the need to pre-mix the flour with the salt.

Heat on the stove top over medium heat or in a microwave until just coming to a boil:
1 c milk
1 T unsalted butter
Tip: I heated mine in the in microwave for about 2 minutes until milk became a little foamy.

Pour the hot milk mixture into a pitcher to make it easier to pour.

With the mixer on low-speed, slowly dribble the hot milk into the bowl of batter, increasing the speed to medium high. Beat for about 1 minute on medium-high until fully incorporated.

Beat into the batter until incorporated:
1 T vanilla extract, fine quality

Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan (note the aluminium foil to catch the few drips — that did sneak through the pan creases)…

Bake at 400 for 15 minutes THEN…
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and continue baking for another 30 mins THEN…
Reduce the oven temperature to 325 and bake an additional 15 mins.
Total baking time is approximately 1 hour.
Remove cake when tester comes out clean.
Tip: Oven baking times may vary so be certain this dense and large cake is fully baked throughout.

Cool cake 10 minutes in the pan before removing to wire rack to cool.

Congratulations! You now have a nice old-fashioned Boiled Milk Cake in your own kitchen.:)

Slice away any top portion of the cake that is uneven and set it aside for snacks…

Slicing the cake in half: With the cake on the aluminum foil (or on a rotating cake plate), cut around the outer cake edges with a large sharp knife slicing a shallow cut into the cake horizontally at an angle even with your counter-top. Continue rotating the cake and slicing a slightly deeper cut as you cut through to divide the cake in half.
Tip: I take my time and make 3 full circles of the cake to dissect it.

Remember, we are not aiming for culinary school perfection so homemade cakes are perfect even with a somewhat uneven layer.

Be sure to remove the leftover crumbs that will remain on the bottom of the cake and in the center cut of the cake from slicing it.

Wrap each half of the cake in double layers of plastic wrap and freeze (for up to 2 weeks) or store refrigerated (for up to 3 days). Because this cake hardens a tad with refrigeration, be sure it is at room temperature before assembling it with the cheesecake. You can frost it, assemble it with the cheesecake and top it with the hibiscus custard an hour before the dinner party and refrigerate it at that time so that it is the perfect consistency for serving at dessert time.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:

This frosting is silk and rich and makes the perfect match-up for the cheesecake that is part of this unique cake. The quantity of frosting in this recipe is meant for frosting only the center and top of the cake (no side frosting). When refrigerated, white chocolate hardens somewhat so you can make this frosting ahead of time but you must have it at room temperature before frosting the cake in order to achieve spread-ability. It is recommended that this cake be frosted at the time of assembly with the chilled cheesecake and just prior to serving if possible in order to decrease the need for refrigeration. That way, both the Boiled Milk Cake and the white chocolate will remain soft and luscious.

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
1 c white chocolate chips
1/2 c (1 cube) unsalted butter
2/3 c cream cheese

Tools Needs for Frosting:
Deep mixing bowl
Electric mixer
Spatula or wooden spoons
measuring cups & spoons

Directions for Preparing Frosting:
Lightly melt in a microwave for a few seconds at a time, stirring in between:
1 c white chocolate chips
Tip: Stirring is the key to melting without getting the white chocolate very hot…aiming for an almost-room temperature melt.

Lightly melt in a microwave for a few seconds at a time, stirring in between:
1/2 c (1 cube) unsalted butter
Tip: (Same as the white chocolate melt) Stirring is the key to melting without getting the butter very hot…aiming for an almost-room temperature melt.

Lightly melt in a microwave for a few seconds at a time, stirring in between:
2/3 c cream cheese
Tip: (Same as the white chocolate and butter melt) Stirring is the key to melting without getting the cream cheese very hot…aiming for an almost-room temperature.

Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer for about 1 minute until well blended and fluffy.

Just before assembly with the chilled cheesecake, spread the center and top of the cake with the frosting (trying not to taste-test too much of it). 🙂

Stay tuned for the next chapter in the series of the amazing Italian Lovesong Cake with the Ladyfinger cookie crumb crust, the elegant Cheesecake and the fascinating Hibiscus Custard. Okay. We’ll also throw in for good measure, the recipe for the fresh Strawberry Puree Sauce that we drizzled over each cake slice. 🙂

You’ll be amazed how the history of cakes resurrected-with-some-twists will thrill your guests. Have fun crafting in your kitchen and comment to let us know how it goes.

Thanks for stopping by!



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WHO took the bottoms to the pans!?

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