Emilian sweet rice cake

Rice cake is a typical Emilian dessert. It is also known as the Torta degli addobbi (the decoration cake) and is traditionally prepared during the month of May to celebrate Corpus Domini. Each family has its own traditional recipe: some add citron and candied fruit, some spices, some raisins and pine nuts, and then there are those who instead prepare a simple rice cake without any special additions. The recipe is also suitable for those suffering from gluten intolerance.

Torta di riso di Cesarina Giovanna (sweet rice cake)



  • 200 gr of rice (Arborio, Vialone Nano or Roma rice varieties)

  • 200 gr of sugar

  • 1 litre of fresh whole milk    

  • zest of 1 lemon (being careful to use just the yellow part)

  • 1 vanilla bean

  • 100 gr of almonds

  • 4 eggs

  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

  • powdered sugar to taste

  • butter to taste

  • breadcrumbs to taste


Heat the milk in a pot with the lemon zest and the vanilla bean. Bring the milk to a boil, pour in the rice and cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, remove the lemon zest and vanilla bean and pour the rice into a bowl. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whip the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Add the rice, ground almonds and cinnamon, and mix all together.
Pour the mixture into a buttered pan that has been coated with breadcrumbs (use baking paper for a gluten-free cake) and bake in a static oven at 180° C for 50 minutes. The surface of the cake must darken in order to form a thin crust, but if it should darken too much in the first twenty minutes, lower the temperature to 160° C.
To serve the rice cake, sprinkle with powdered sugar.
According to tradition, the cake is cut into smaller diamond shaped portions and then brushed with amaretto (such as Sassolino - typical of Modena) or aniseed liqueur (such as Anice).


Buon Appetito!