Nonna’s Pasta Cake

vegetarian Serves: 4 Cook Time: 25
This is the only kind of Easter surprise I need. This Southern Italian specialty is made by combining cooked pasta with a sweetened custard that is flavored with rose water and orange blossom water for a lovely spring flavor. Here’s the recipe; it will make your home smell *just gorgeous*:


  • 3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1 ½ cups light brown sugar, plus more for the pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/8 teaspoon of orange blossom water
  • 1/8 teaspoon rosewater essence
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla powder or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • ½ pound tagliolini pasta
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 4 ounces cold milk
  • 1 tablespoon diced candied citrus


  1. Don your Sunday best, then tell yourself you look ‘just gorgeous’ (you’ll make Nonna proud). Preheat the oven to 380˚F and butter a 9-inch cake pan, then sprinkle to coat with brown sugar.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together the butter, sugar, eggs, orange blossom water, rosewater, vanilla powder or extract, cinnamon and lemon zest until it smells amazing and is smooth and silky, just like you are. Set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then season with salt until it tastes like a well-seasoned soup. Cook pasta to al dente (should only take a matter of seconds if using fresh pasta). Drain, then transfer to a large bowl and toss with the milk to cool the pasta off.
  4. Once the pasta is cool, add the custard mixture and candied citrus and stir to combine. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour, or until set.
  5. Let cool slightly, then remove from the pan and dust with powdered sugar.

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