Rice and chocolate cake

Rice and chocolate cake

Torta di riso e cioccolato

The Italian Baker

In Italy there are many variations of rice cake and, from north to south, many regions claim to make the best version. Rice was once an ingredient widely used among poor people, which is why so many traditional recipes use this versatile grain. The cake I present to you here is inspired by the one made in the Emilia Romagna region. I have left out the candied fruits and added chocolate, for a more sinful twist. I hope you won’t mind…


Quantity Ingredient
little softened butter, for greasing
good-quality cocoa powder, for dusting
2 oranges
1 litre milk
1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
85g caster sugar
300g arborio rice
4 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons cointreau
60g dark chocolate chips, or dark chocolate, cut into chunks


  1. Butter a 20-cm springform cake tin and dust with cocoa powder. Using a swivel peeler, pare the zest from one of the oranges into wide strips. Finely grate the zest from the other orange, keeping both zests separate.
  2. Put the milk, vanilla seeds, sugar and the pared orange zest strips in a pan over a medium heat and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer, then add the rice. Stir, cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is cooked and the milk has all been absorbed. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool. Remove and discard the pared orange zest.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl, using a whisk. Add half the Cointreau to the yolks.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a mixing bowl and using a hand-held electric whisk, whisk the eggs whites to stiff peaks. When the rice is cool to the touch, stir three quarters of the grated orange zest (or all of it if you don’t want to reserve any for decoration at the end), the egg-yolk mixture and the remaining Cointreau into it.
  5. Gently fold in the whisked egg whites until fully incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50–60 minutes until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Leave to cool in the tin for 30 minutes before unmoulding on to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust generously with cocoa powder, sprinkle the remaining grated orange zest over the top, if you like, and serve.
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