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Jan 31, 2009 10:45 PM

Nicolsi "birthday" cake

I grew up in the valley and moved many years ago but still crave my annual birthday cake. It was a layered rum sponge cake from Nicolsi bakery. I would love to know what the name of it was so I can try to locate a recipe or find a bakery here in the Pacific Northwest that makes it. It had a layer with custard and cherries, a layer with chocolate and bananas and was a rum soaked sponge cake. Does it sound familiar to anyone?


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  1. If you're around the Seattle area or any area with a large Vietnamese population, you can find a Vietnamese bakery...they are quite famous for keeping their cake layers moist with rum. Those were my birthday cakes when I was I understand why I like rum so much...yum!

    1. It sounds like a variation on a Zuppa Inglese, which is rum-soaked layer cake with custard layers (and often different fruits). (Some versions use ladyfingers instead of sponge cake.)

      3 Replies
      1. re: Jwsel

        Zuppa Inglese is soaked in Alchermes not rum...It is a trifle, not a cake... Nicolosi unfortunately is not owned anymore by the same family. The original owner worked at Luigi Alba's in Brooklyn... those days however are long gone

        1. re: lambrusche

          Some variations (which is the term I used) use rum and use sponge cake instead of ladyfingers so they can retain the layering instead of being a complete trifle. This sounds like the makers took a zuppa inglese, but kept the layers intact, probably by using less rum and a more solid custard.

          As for Nicolosi's, I thought it closed completely.

      2. Thank-you all for the info....Zuppa Inglese does ring a bell I will try to find that in the PNW. I may look into the Veitnamese cakes also- rum can't be bad!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Saabgirl

          Just bear in mind that a lot of Zuppa Ingleses are more like an English trifle, so the entire dessert is more of a pudding, with the layers mushed together. I did a Google search for what you described and found some places calling similar-sounding desserts THINGS LIKE "Italian rum-soaked layer torte."

          1. re: Jwsel

            I found a recipe from Olive Garden for a Zuppa Inglese that sounds remarkably similar to the cake I remember. Finding a name for it was a Godsend. Thank you for your help.