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A large slice of tiramisu on a dark plate

32 Italian desserts

Published: May 11, 2022 at 11:07 am
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Try our sweet Italian entertaining ideas, from a show-stopping Amalfi lemon cake to twists on panna cottas and the best tiramisu recipe

Looking for Italian desserts to serve at your next dinner party? Want an easy Italian cake for a summer afternoon tea event? Try our dessert ideas including Italian biscuits to serve with coffee, chocolate tortes and, of course, plenty of panna cotta and tiramisu recipes. Plan a full dinner party with our healthy Italian recipesItalian starter recipes and more Italian recipes. Check out more Italian desserts with our Italian baking recipes

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Easy Italian dessert recipes

Classic tiramisu

Whip up our smart, authentic version of this classic Italian dessert, made with mascarpone, marsala and savoiardi biscuits soaked in coffee and Tia Maria.

Classic Tiramisu Recipe

Italian lemon cake

Give our Italian almond and Amalfi lemon cake a go. The Amalfi lemons have a strong intense lemony aroma, and are slightly sweeter than normal lemons. This light cake is seriously moreish and a real crowd pleaser.

Almond and Amalfi lemon cake

Warm molten chocolate and salted caramel tarts

Molten chocolate and salted caramel tarts take a little bit of effort to make, but are sure to impress guests. The recipe comes from Italian restaurant Luca, where it's served with milk ice cream – but vanilla would work well, too.

A chocolate tart on a white plate with a marble background

Sicilian ricotta cake

Wow your dinner party guests with this creamy baked ricotta cake, studded with chocolate chunks.

A golden ricotta cake on a white plate, sat on a wooden worktop

Italian Easter cake

Give this traditional Italian Easter cake a go this spring – it’s a yeasty bake that's similar to a panettone.

A bready cake topped with nuts in the shape of a dove, sat on a wooden board with a pink background

Cannoli

If you’re into Italian sweet treats, you’ll love these homemade cannoli – you’ll need cannoli moulds but it’s worth investing in them.

A large plate of cannoli on a grey background with a shot of espresso and a small bowl of chopped pistachios

Butterscotch budino

Budino – an Italian custard dish – is here flavoured with butterscotch, a kick of whisky and a salted caramel topping to make a stylish sweet dessert.

A small glass filled with a butterscotch mousse and topped with whipped cream

Chocolate biscotti

These chocolaty almond biscotti make great edible gifts for the festive season, but are delicious all year round. Make them as a little treat to have with your coffee.

Almond Biscotti Recipe With Double Chocolate

Panna cotta with cherry and ginger sauce

Learn how to make the best version of this Italian dessert. The perfect panna cotta (‘cooked cream’ in Italian) should be just set enough to hold together, but soft and creamy enough to melt in the mouth. Gelatine is the secret to this texture and it can be a tricky ingredient to handle – but follow these simple rules and you’ll have it mastered in no time.

Panna Cotta Dessert Recipe with Cherry Sauce

Check out this quick and easy chocolate mousse recipe with espresso for an Italian twist. If you're hosting a dinner party and looking for an indulgent yet easy dessert that can easily be made ahead, try these gluten-free creamy puds – ready in 15 minutes.

Chocolate Mousse Recipe with Affogato

Raspberry granita with balsamic caramel

Mix up your caramels and try this raspberry granita with balsamic caramel to get your taste buds tingling. The natural sweetness of the sharp Italian vinegar works brilliantly with the zing of the soft fruit. It totally works so go on, give it a go!

Raspberry granita with balsamic caramel

Espresso martini tiramisu

Need a show-stopping Italian dessert? Make our creamy tiramisu with espresso, kahlúa and vodka. This indulgent recipe is easy to make and will be a hit with all your friends.

Espresso Martini Tiramisu Recipe

Zuccotto

Perfect for entertaining, try our version of a classic Italian chocolate cake with sponge, chocolate and a splash of booze.

A round chocolate cake covered with icing sugar and cocoa

Amalfi lemon syllabub

Try this refreshing lemon dessert from Italian restaurant Bancone in Covent Garden. Bancone's easy recipe makes more lemony granita than you’ll need – store any leftovers in the freezer.

Lemon Syllabub Recipe

Espresso panna cotta

Try our recipe for silky-smooth espresso panna cotta. This dessert is an ideal way to end any dinner party, it's gluten-free and looks impressive served in martini glasses.

Espresso PannaEspresso Panna Cotta Recipe

Chocolate and hazelnut meringue semifreddo

The Italian dessert, semifreddo, is an ice cream with a mousse-like texture. This recipe not only looks impressive, but can be made in advance for easy dinner party entertaining. Plus, there's no churning required.

Chocolate and Hazlenut Meringue Semifreddo

White chocolate panna cotta with stewed rhubarb

White chocolate provides a perfect contrast to the sharpness of the rhubarb in this classic, creamy dessert.

Plates of panna cotta with stewed rhubarb

Coffee cake with cappuccino buttercream

Try our super easy coffee slab cake – an American favourite with an Italian twist. This recipe is nut-free and comes with an indulgent cappuccino buttercream, a simple yet moreish cake, perfect for parties, birthdays or just family gatherings. More tray bake recipes here...

Coffee Cake Recipe With Cappuccino Buttercream

Italian hazelnut and chocolate torte

This rich decadent chocolate torte may look tricky but it's so easy to put together for a dinner party. The secret is coating the outside with a layer of crunchy hazelnut and biscuit.

Rich chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

Florentines

These crunchy biscuits would make a great dessert alternative to serve with coffee. Otherwise, hang them from ribbons as an edible Christmas tree decoration or stack them on a plate and enjoy them with a comforting cup of tea.

Dark Chocolate Florentines Recipe

Boozy tiramisu bombe

Everyone loves a boozy, coffee-flavoured Italian tiramisu and this is a great easy version, made with shop-bought sponge cake and without raw eggs and shaped like an ice cream bombe.

Boozy Tiramisu Ice Cream Bombe Recipe

Strawberry zabaglione

Marsala, the key flavour in this, is a perfect match for strawberries in this fresh twist on the Italian dessert zabaglione. Don’t over-beat the cream, otherwise combining it with the zabaglione will be difficult. Whisk until it is barely in soft peaks and then gently fold together.

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Strawberry Zabaglione Recipe

Blood orange polenta drizzle cake

Change up the classic lemon drizzle with juicy blood oranges. Our polenta cake is easy to make and the ideal sweet treat to accompany your morning coffee.

Orange Polenta Cake Recipe

Coconut panna cotta with mango salsa

This classic Italian dessert gets a tropical twist by infusing the cream with coconut and topping with a zingy mango and passionfruit salsa.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Mango Salsa

Italian tiramisu

Layers of coffee-soaked sponge fingers and whipped mascarpone make for an authentic Italian tiramisu, finished with dark chocolate shavings.

Italian tiramisu recipe

Passion fruit panna cotta

This fruity and super creamy twist on panna cotta is quick and easy to make, plus it can be made easily in advance.

Passion Fruit Panna Cotta Recipe

Pandoro semifreddo

Chocolate Pistachio Semifreddo Recipe

Classic panettone

Panettone is a classic Italian Christmas bake, traditionally slow-proved for 72 hours. We've used fast-action yeast to create an easy, make-at-home version.

A white plate topped with a golden panettone with two slices on the side

Panforte

This Italian dessert is popular for its chewy texture, with pistachios, almonds and dried fruits offering a nutty and sweet flavour.

Panforte cut into slices on a plate, with tealights around

Rhubarb frangipane cake

This recipe from Italian restaurant Manteca pairs tangy rhubarb with ground almonds in this nutty sponge. Serve with crème fraîche for an easy dessert.

A white bowl filled with an almond sponge, flecked with flaked almonds and topped with a quenelle of mascarpone

Vanilla panna cotta

Try this super-simple, super-creamy, classic Italian dessert – it's the ideal way to impress guests at your next dinner party.

Vanilla panna cottas served in small white dishes

Italian chocolate hazelnut cake

Torta alla nocciola, an Italian chocolate hazelnut cake, celebrates a classic combination and is deliciously indulgent. It makes for a great dinner party dessert.

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake Recipe

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