This Italian Hangover Cake recipe is our attempt at recreating the trending one-bite review videos on TikTok—a copycat bundt cake made at a now-famous Italian restaurant.
It’s said that a hangover cake helps the next morning after a night of drinking.
While I can’t verify that boozy cakes help, staying hydrated the next day certainly does.
This fluffy cake is moist, dense, and deeply layered with the flavor of almond, orange, and vanilla—giving traditional rum cake a run for its money!
Let me start by saying I am not a strong cake baker. I crafted this one from my favorite simple cake recipes that I often use a boxed cake mix to make.
This delicious cake took some experimentation and careful planning, but I will say that having a brand new Nordicware Bundt pan really helped.
In my -cough- number of years, I have never had a fluffy cake turn out so beautifully and I was overjoyed when this came out.
I spent so long admiring this spectacle that I realized I had forgotten to start the glaze.
And the glaze, made with disaronno—a lush and high-quality almond-flavored liqueur like amaretto—and Grand Marnier (“Grandma” as bartenders seem to call it, which I find charming), this cake is both an elevated take on traditional Italian rum cake recipe but free of nuts, and richly flavored in the way of fruit cake without the crowding of citrus and such.
So, I admit I asked DeFazio Pizzeria for their recipe so that I could tweak it, but understandably, they could not be budged.
This is as good as it gets in this household, so when you make this Italian treat, if you are in the Troy, New York, region, let us know who wins this copycat recipe throwdown!
Supplies to gather
- Bundt pan
- Paper towel or napkin for buttering the pan
- Large mixing bowl
- Fork to lightly beat the eggs
- Measuring spoons
- Measuring cups
- Electric hand mixer
- Bowl scraper
- Small saucepan to make glaze
- Wooden spoon
- Sturdy wire rack for cooling
- Toothpick or butterknife to help get the cake out of the pan
- Soft pastry brush for applying glaze
- Cake plate or platter with high sides or substantial lip
For the pan:
- Butter and flour to coat
For the cake:
- Disaronno almond-flavored liqueur or amaretto
- Gran Marnier orange liqueur
- High-quality vanilla cake mix
- Full fat mayo
- Full fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- Vanilla extract
For the glaze:
- Grand Marnier
About the Bundt cake pan
You bakers know that breath held in anticipation as you turn out your cooled bundt pan hoping against hope that you coated the bottom of the prepared pan well enough—buttered, sprayed, floured, and prayed—for it to pop out perfectly onto the plate.
Letting the cake cool completely has definitely helped me over the years, but this pan was magical.
I originally bought this Nordicware Heritage Bundt Pan because I thought the pattern was cool, and I have a growing collection.
But I decided to use this one on a whim and it is a stunner, without any help from me, might I add.
Yes, I buttered and floured this bad boy, but I always do that and never have I turned out a cake so evenly browned and without a single imperfection. (See photos.)
Note: If you plan to move your cake from your glazing plate to a cake plate with a dome, I recommend adding a sheet of parchment paper to the plate you first flip the cake out onto (tape it down or hold the edges along with the plate).
This will help the cake not stick so you can move and lift it better to its new location, hopefully in one piece.
About the Disaronno
So you can grab any bottle of almond-flavored liqueur like amaretto for this simple Italian cake.
I went ahead and indulged in this pricier Italian liqueur called Disaronno, which is a beautiful amber color with rich sweet almond essence.
It’s mentioned specifically on the website at DeFazio’s so I decided to try it.
How else can I get the same rave reviews unless I do my best to copy cat their super secret recipe??
About the Grand Marnier
We’ve had a bottle of Grand Marnier since our writeup about what it tastes like and substitutions for it, so instead of plain orange juice, lots of “GrandMa” went into the cake batter and glaze.
Because of that, I wouldn’t necessarily call this a family dessert. It’s pretty potent.
Not sure I’d call this a true food hangover remedy but if you want a bit of the hair of the dog that bit ya, this cake makes a mighty good brunch slice or dessert for DAYS later.
The almond and orange flavorings are key ingredients to this special occasion cake.
About the cake mix
I used Duncan Hines French Vanilla Signature cake mix, and I’d recommend a high-quality box mix like this one.
While you are using a packaged cake mix, don’t follow the cake directions on the back.
You’ll be adding different ingredients to this box of mix; it’s just your starting point to save you a few steps.
Butter Yellow works too—any extra butter and/or vanilla flavor will help enhance the potent almond and orange essence.
Add an extra tablespoon of vanilla if you are using a plain vanilla cake mix.
We find it best to use an electric mixer, and add five room temp eggs, ¼ c mayonnaise, ¼ c sour cream (or plain Greek yogurt), and lots of extra pure vanilla extract (imitation is fine too) to help keep this a moist cake with lots of delicious flavor.
About the glaze
Since this is truly a special occasion cake, our Italian hangover cake recipe glaze calls for a lot of alcohol in this, plus a full cup of sugar and LOTS of butter.
The glaze will cool in the pan until it’s barely warm, and that’s when you add the two liqueurs, so yeah, it will have an incredible aroma, and also be very alcoholic. (Some of it will dissipate as it sits in the open air.)
The glaze does not get very thick like you might see in a white glaze on cookies; this will actually be clear, pretty thin, and thicken slightly as it cools, but not a lot.
It will seem like a lot of glaze in the saucepan, but we are going to TRIPLE glaze this.
In other words, turn the cooled cake onto a plate or platter with high sides that will hold a lot of run-off.
Keep dipping your soft pastry brush into the pooled glaze and reapply until it’s all gone (or until you can’t stand it anymore and have cut yourself a slice right away—we totally understand!).
This does take some time, but wow, what a final presentation!
Tips for making Italian Hangover Cake
- Because there are so many eggs, I beat these with a fork before the rest of the ingredients went into the bowl. A whisk or just beating them with the mixer in advance is fine too.
- Instead of nonstick cooking spray, thoroughly grease and flour your cake pan, getting into all of the nooks and crannies of the pan. I am seeing mixed thoughts on using spray, and I can say the butter/flour method worked great for me in this kind of intricate pan. Crisco shortening works too.
- I have a gas oven and it definitely cooks more evenly if it preheats at temperature for 15 minutes or more. I’d recommend this if your oven is older, runs cool, or tends to heat unevenly.
- Make sure the cake is 100% cool before trying to tip it out of the bundt pan. I put mine in front of a fan, but you can also wait until the pan is only warm to the touch and add it to the fridge or freezer so it gets to room temp faster.
The bottom line
I can’t wait to hear about your results with this Italian Hangover Cake recipe.
If you love rum cake as much as I do, I think you will absolutely die for this Italian Hangover Cake.
While my from-scratch cake recipes are often not perfected to my liking, when I doctor a box cake mix, I have a much better success rate with a tender, moist crumb,
And rum cake is one of my personal specialties. This recipe really takes it up a notch though, and with lots of layered, lush flavors of the holiday season and beyond.
After at least two days of sitting in the glaze, cut thick slices of this decadent dessert and add dollops of unsweetened whipped cream alongside each serving if you want.
While it may end up being very hard to cut into such a simply perfect cake, I highly encourage you to do so.
For the cake:
- Five eggs, room temperature
- 1 box of French Vanilla or Golden Butter Cake Mix
- ¼ c full-fat sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ c full-fat mayonnaise
- 1 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
- ¼ c Disaronno or other sweet almond liqueur
- ¼ c Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
- 1 T vanilla extract
- Note: If using plain vanilla cake mix, add 2 T more vanilla extract (3 T total).
For the glaze:
- 1-½ c white sugar
- 1 stick of butter
- ¼ c water
- ¼ t salt
- ½ c Disaronno
- ½ c Grand Marnier
- Sit out the eggs and butter on the countertop to bring them to room temperature.
- Preheat the oven to 350F and let it heat for at least 15 minutes.
- For best results: Instead of cooking spray, thoroughly butter and flour the bundt pan. Set aside.
- Crack all the eggs into the large bowl and lightly beat with a fork.
- Add remaining cake ingredients to bowl and beat on low with an electric hand mixer until batter becomes light yellow. (If no mixer, use a wooden spoon and beat vigorously for three to four minutes.)
- Scrape sides of the bowl while beating.
- Pour batter into the prepared cake pan.
- Immediately place the cake pan into the center of the hot oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, check the cake with a toothpick or butterknife. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready to remove from the oven.
- Leave the cake in the pan and let it cool completely on a sturdy wire rack or trivet. Set aside.
- While the cake cools: To the saucepan, add sugar, butter, water, and salt. Heat on medium while stirring occasionally.
- Continue cooking the glaze until the sugar dissolves and butter is thoroughly melted. Allow to simmer gently for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Bubbles will form around the sides of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Maneuver a toothpick or rubber spatula around the edges of your cake pan to gently loosen the cake from the bundt pan’s edges. From about five inches off the counter, gently the pan on the countertop five or six times.
- Place your platter or cake plate on the open surface of the pan, and holding pan and platter together (and parchment paper, if using), overturn in one swift motion so the cake will release onto the surface of the plate. Set aside.
- To the cooled glaze, add the Disaronno and Grand Marnier, then stir with a wooden spoon. Glaze will be thin.
- Using a soft pastry brush, apply the lukewarm glaze to the surface of the cake. Get around the bottom, center and all around the sides until it glistens. Set aside to sit so the glaze soaks in for an hour and reapply more glaze. The glaze will begin pooling around the bottom of the cake plate.
- Cover without touching the surface of the cake and set aside until the next day and reapply glaze for a third time, dipping pastry brush into the pooled glaze and continuing to coat the cake until it’s gone.
- Cake is best eaten after two days in the glaze. Refrigerate after three days covered on the counter.
- To store long term: Slice into individual servings, cover tightly, and freeze for up to three months.
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