An Italian hangover cake is one of those classic recipes that everyone has heard of, but few people have actually made before.
It’s a simple and straightforward cake with just enough spice to give it flavor without being overwhelming.
This is the perfect recipe if you want something quick and easy to whip together on a Sunday morning after a night out at the bars.
What Is An Italian Hangover Cake
The name itself may be misleading – there isn’t any actual alcohol involved here!
Instead, this is a spiced cake that will help alleviate some of the symptoms associated with drinking too much wine or beer.
If you can remember your last hangover from years ago (or even better, your first), then you already know how awful they can feel.
They come as a result of dehydration, lack of sleep, and not eating properly when you should.
An Italian hangover cake helps to address all these things by providing a lot of protein and carbohydrates that your body needs to repair its internal systems.
Ingredients for an Italian hangover cake
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
You probably won’t need to make more than two slices per person, so keep that in mind when preparing this recipe.
You don’t want to overdo it because otherwise you could end up feeling worse than ever!
How to cook an Italian hangover cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, and olive oil until well combined.
In another bowl, combine all remaining dry ingredients including spices.
Next, stir both mixtures together until everything gets fully mixed.
Pour into a 9×9-inch baking dish lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven once done and let cool completely.
What Are The Ingredients In An Italian Hangover Cake?
The secret ingredient here is caponata – a traditional Sicilian relish traditionally served as part of a mezze platter.
But don’t let this scare you off! Caponata is very easy to prepare and can be found in most supermarkets these days.
You will need some good quality bread (preferably stale) and some eggs.
And maybe a little cheese thrown into the mix too.
The other key ingredient is anchovies – they add a salty depth to the cake which makes it more substantial than a run-of-the-mill sponge cake would be.
So keep them handy in your fridge until needed.
How Do You Make An Italian Hangover Cake?
The first thing you need to know about this recipe is that it uses stale bread.
If you don’t have any left over from dinner last night, you can always order some online.
When making your cake, start by cutting your bread into cubes.
You should get around 1 cup of cubes from each loaf of bread.
Then sift them through a fine mesh strainer so they are all uniform in size.
Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
Next, whisk together eggs, heavy cream, milk, vanilla extract, salt, sugar, and spices until smooth.
Add flour and stir well so there aren’t any clumps remaining.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center of cake.
While the cake bakes, chop up tomatoes and onions and set aside.
When the time is up, let the cake cool completely before slicing it horizontally down the middle.
Remove the top half of the cake and place on serving plate.
Use a large spoon to scoop out the insides of the bottom half of the cake and pile them onto the plate as well.
Now take your reserved bread cubes and add them back into the empty holes in the bottom layer of the cake.
Now pour tomato sauce evenly over the entire surface of the cake.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the sauce and then cover it with cheese.
Bake again for another 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted.
What Does An Italian Hangover Cake Taste Like?
The most important thing about this recipe is what it doesn’t taste like.
You won’t find any sweet flavors in this cake, or anything overly spicy.
Instead, the key feature of this recipe is its simplicity.
The only ingredients are eggs, flour, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, sugar, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese.
That’s all there is!
This means that the flavor profile is almost entirely dictated by how well your other ingredients work together.
So, if you love salty foods then adding some extra salt will help bring out more flavor from the olives and anchovies used here.
If you can get over the fact that these two ingredients don’t belong together (and they shouldn’t), then this is going to be a very good Italian hangover cake indeed.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 7 ounces stale day-old bread (or baguette)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- Olive oil spray
First, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Then, grease a 9×13 inch baking dish and set aside.
Next, combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.
Now add the wet ingredients and mix them thoroughly until everything comes together into a batter.
Finally, pour the mixture evenly into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes.
Let the cake cool completely before serving.
What Is The History Of Italian Hangover Cake?
Italian hangover cakes are based on an old-school Italian dessert called panforte.
Panforte was originally created in Florence over 500 years ago as a sweet treat meant to be eaten during religious holidays such as Christmas and Easter.
However, when the French invaded Italy in 1799, they brought their own customs including desserts and food traditions into the country.
As a result, panforte spread throughout Europe and eventually became part of our modern culinary culture.
Since then, panforte has become associated with Italian cuisine and its traditional uses, although many versions of this dessert can still be found around the world today.
The most common version is still the original Florentine version, which consists primarily of ground walnuts, almonds, sugar, honey, raisins, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and orange zest.
Other varieties include chocolate and even peanut butter and jelly!
But regardless of what type of panforte you make, all of them share similar ingredients and flavors.
For an Italian hangover cake recipe, we recommend starting off by making your favorite panforte base and adding some spices and other flavors to suit your tastes.
Where Does Italian Hangover Cake Come From?
The origins of this dish are somewhat murky, but it’s likely that it was born in America during Prohibition when Italians immigrated there en masse.
The Italians were among the first wave of immigrants who came to work in the food factories of New York City, where they would make all sorts of foods like bagels, pizza, and pasta.
They also brought their cooking styles with them, including making bread pudding and various desserts.
Many of these dishes were adapted by Americans as well, so we can see how an American version of Italian-style bread pudding might be called “Italian-American hangover cake.”
However, we know that this dish is most closely associated with Italy itself, which makes sense because Italians are known for creating some of the world’s best pastries.
History of Italian hangover cakes
According to Food & Wine magazine, the original recipe used stale bread instead of fresh bread, which would explain why this dish became known as “hangover cake.”
While the recipe did not call for eggs, it still involved baking a mixture of flour, sugar, milk, and spices.
Since the ingredients didn’t include any leaveners like yeast, the resulting cake had very little rise compared to other baked goods of its time period.
Today, however, many versions of Italian hangover cake incorporate eggs into the batter.
This recipe is similar to another famous Italian dessert, panettone, which is essentially a sweetened bread loaf.
Panettone is traditionally eaten around Christmastime, but it’s now widely available year round since it’s such a delicious treat.
How Popular Is Italian Hangover Cake?
The popularity of this dish seems to be growing every year.
In fact, in 2014, Bon Appetit named it as one of their “25 Best Recipes Ever,” saying “This sweet-and-savory loaf cake will cure your hangovers faster than any other remedy I can think of.”
When you make this recipe, you may find yourself wondering how many times someone has had an authentic Italian hangover cake since its inception back in the 1980s.
According to Wikipedia, there was a restaurant in New York City called Il Mulino which served a version of this cake to customers who were hung over.
The chef originally created the recipe after he noticed that his employees would often order sandwiches when they came into work feeling ill because they hadn’t eaten breakfast yet.
Since then, the dish has been featured in numerous publications including Saveur magazine, Food & Wine, Gourmet, and Cook’s Illustrated among others.
As a result, the Italian hangover cake has become such a well known thing that even celebrities like Oprah Winfrey have mentioned it on her show!
Although the exact origin of the Italian hangover cake remains unknown, we do know that it probably originated somewhere in Italy due to the fact that several versions of the same cake exist throughout the country.
What Are Some Interesting Facts About Italian Hangover Cake?
The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it in minutes!
All of the ingredients require only five steps from start to finish: mix everything until combined, bake, cool, frost, and eat.
That means you don’t need an oven thermometer or even a timer – all you need is a little bit of time (and patience).
Italian hangover cakes are most often served cold so they can be eaten as soon as possible after baking them, while still warm.
They taste great straight from the fridge too, which makes them ideal for breakfast or brunch.
If you like your food hot though, it’s fine to reheat them later in the microwave.
You can also store leftovers wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for three days in the refrigerator.
If you do decide to keep some left over cake in the freezer, take care not to thaw completely.
The texture will change slightly when you defrost, but it won’t affect how well-received the cake was in the first place.
We recommend keeping it frozen for no more than two weeks because anything longer than that could result in dryness.
So what else should we know about this delicious treat?
Let’s find out…
Are There Any Variations Of Italian Hangover Cake?
The basic components of an Italian hangover cake are eggs, milk, flour, butter, salt, sugar, spices, and cheese.
You can add other ingredients like chocolate chips or raisins, but these aren’t essential.
In addition to using up leftovers from your fridge, this cake is also good as a base for cupcakes, muffins, or even pizza crust!
Italian Hangover Cake Recipe Variations
- Add 1/4 cup chopped nuts to the batter (almonds, hazelnuts, walnut) – I love adding nuts because they bring extra texture to the crumbly topping. The nuts will soak in the liquid overnight, so make sure you don’t forget them! If you do forget, try soaking them in hot water until soft enough to chop.
- Bake the cake in a 9-inch springform pan instead of a regular baking dish – this keeps the sides nice and tall, which makes cutting easier. It’s still delicious either way, though.
- Make mini versions of the cake by dividing the batter into 12 small portions and bake each individually – you could also double the recipe and bake two cakes side by side.
What Is The Best Italian Hangover Cake Recipe?
The only real difference between this recipe and other hangover cakes is that instead of using stale bread, we’re going to be using leftover pizza dough.
If you don’t have an old loaf of pizza left over from last week’s delivery, then no worries!
You can easily substitute some store-bought pizza crust (or even better yet, make your own!) for this recipe.
We’ve included two versions in our guide – one that uses fresh rosemary and another that uses dried oregano and fennel seeds.
The choice is yours really as both are delicious!
- Bundt cake pan
- Electric handheld mixer
- Medium-sized saucepan
- cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 2 eggs large
- ⅓ tbsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. butter
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tbsp. ground ginger
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
- 3 tbsp. butter unsalted
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. rum
- 2 bananas large
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a Bundt pan.
- Butter and sugar should be combined in a saucepan and cooked until the sugar is dissolved to make the topping.
- After that, turn off the heat and stir in the rum. Then thoroughly mix.
- Your Bundt pan’s base should be covered with the caramel sauce.
- In a mixing basin, combine all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger to make the batter. Place aside.
- The eggs, Greek yogurt, butter, and vanilla extract should all be mixed with an electric mixer.
- Mix thoroughly after combining with the dried butter.
- Slice and peel the bananas. In the Bundt pan, put them on top of the caramel sauce.
- The batter should now be spread over the sauce and banana mixture.
- Bake for 30 minutes.