Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)

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Written By Rose Oscar

I'm Rose! Wanderer at heart, digital nomad by choice. I've swapped the 9-5 grind for a life on the move, exploring every nook and cranny of our beautiful planet.

Indulge in Grandma’s Cake: Torta della Nonna

Looking for a taste of Italy right in your own kitchen? Try this classic Italian recipe for Torta della Nonna, also known as Grandma’s Cake. This decadent dessert is sure to transport you to the charming streets of Tuscany with its rich flavors and creamy filling.

This Italian food favorite is perfect for special occasions such as family gatherings, birthdays, or holidays. The delicate combination of buttery crust, velvety custard, and toasted pine nuts make it a show-stopping treat that will impress any guest.

Whether you’re celebrating with loved ones or simply craving a taste of Italy, Torta della Nonna is the perfect sweet indulgence that will leave you dreaming of la dolce vita.

Italian Recipe: Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (optional)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4 persons

Torta della Nonna is a traditional Italian dessert that translates to Grandma’s Cake. This delicious treat features a creamy custard filling encased in a buttery pastry crust, topped with crunchy pine nuts. It’s the perfect indulgence for any occasion.


  1. Dough preparation:
    In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and salt. Gradually mix in the flour until a dough forms. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

  2. Custard filling:
    In a saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until steaming but not boiling. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and a little bit of milk to form a slurry. Pour the slurry into the hot milk, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool.

  3. Assembly:
    Preheat your oven to 350°F (180°C). Roll out two-thirds of the dough on a floured surface to fit a greased tart pan. Pour in the cooled custard filling and spread evenly. Roll out the remaining dough and place on top of the custard. Sprinkle pine nuts on top if desired.

Pierce some holes on top to allow steam to escape during baking.

Bake for about40 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Serve warm or at room temperature dusted with powdered sugar for an extra touch of sweetness.

    The difficulty score for this recipe is: 3 out of 10.The reason this recipe has been given a score of three is because it requires some basic baking skills such as making dough and whisking custard; however, it does not involve any complex techniques or ingredients that would make it overly challenging for an experienced cook.


    Nutrition: Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)

    Here is the nutrition information per serving for Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake), a classic Italian recipe:

    • Calories: 350
    • Protein: 6g
    • Carbohydrates: 35g
    • Fat: 20g
    • Sugar: 20g

    This traditional Italian food is relatively high in calories and fat due to the buttery crust and rich custard filling. However, it also provides some protein and carbohydrates. Enjoying Grandma’s Cake in moderation can be part of a balanced diet.

    Serving suggestions for Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)

    If you are serving Torta della Nonna as a dessert, I recommend pairing it with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla gelato. The combination of the creamy filling and the light pastry crust will be perfectly complemented by the richness of the cream or gelato. You can also sprinkle some powdered sugar on top for an extra touch of sweetness.

    • Serve slices of Torta della Nonna with a side of fresh berries such as strawberries or raspberries for a burst of fruity flavor.
    • You can drizzle some warm honey or chocolate sauce over the cake before serving to add an extra layer of indulgence.
    • A dusting of finely grated lemon zest on top of each slice will enhance the citrusy notes in the custard filling.

    What to serve with Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)

    To create a complete Italian meal featuring this classic dessert, consider starting with an antipasto platter filled with cured meats, cheeses, olives, and marinated vegetables. Follow it up with a pasta dish like spaghetti carbonara or gnocchi alla sorrentina. Finish off the meal with a slice of Torta della Nonna accompanied by a shot of espresso or a glass of sweet dessert wine like Moscato d’Asti.

    • The rich flavors in dishes like osso buco or chicken piccata make them ideal main courses to pair with Torta della Nonna.
    • A crisp and refreshing salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette can serve as a light counterbalance to the richness of the cake.
    • To truly embrace the essence of Italian cuisine, end your meal with an after-dinner digestif such as limoncello or amaro.

    Tips to Increase Flavor on the Italian Recipe for Torta della Nonna (Grandma’s Cake)

    If you want to enhance the flavor of your Italian food and make your Torta della Nonna even more delicious, try adding a few drops of high-quality vanilla extract to the custard filling. The subtle sweetness and aroma of vanilla will elevate the taste of this traditional dessert.

    Spicy Score: 2/10

    I would rate this recipe a 2 out of 10 on the spicy scale because traditionally, Torta della Nonna is not meant to be spicy. The focus is on showcasing the rich flavors of creamy custard, crunchy pine nuts, and buttery crust. Adding spices or heat could overpower these delicate flavors and clash with the essence of this classic Italian dessert.