Some highly rated Italian cake and dessert recipes are Betty Crocker's Tiramisu Cake, Food Network's Coffee-Glazed Italian Doughnuts or Zeppole, and AllRecipes.com's Double Chocolate Biscotti. The Tiramisu Cake calls for using boxed cake mix, and making a coffee syrup and mascarpone cheese filling. The Double Chocolate Biscotti uses a mixture of semi-sweet and white chocolate for a not too sweet cookie. The homemade zeppole are dipped in a glaze made of whipping cream, coffee liqueur, espresso powder and powdered sugar.
To make the Tiramisu cake, start by making a vanilla boxed cake in two 9-inch cake pans according to directions on the package, and allow the cakes to cool completely. Make the coffee syrup by mixing together 3/4 cup hot espresso coffee, 2 tablespoons cognac and 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. For the filling, beat together 3 cups mascarpone cheese, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons cognac and 3 teaspoons vanilla with an electric mixer. In a separate bowl, use the electric mixer to beat 1 cup whipping cream into soft peaks. Gently mix the whipped cream into the cheese mixture.
To put the cake together, cut each cake into two pieces horizontally and place one of the cake layers on a plate. Moisten the cake layer with the cooled coffee syrup and top with 1 cup of filling. Continue layering cake, coffee syrup and filling. Spread the filling over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle with cocoa powder and garnish with chopped dark chocolate and coffee beans.