Cake soft, fresh, slightly sweet. The Neapolitan migliaccio


Migliaccio is the soft Neapolitan cake eaten at the end of winter between Carnival and Easter and is often accompanied by a fortified wine. Although made from basic ingredients, it has an exquisite, delicate taste and an aromatic fragrance, making it popular with young and old alike. It is a fairly highcalorie cake that is similar in flavour, aroma and colour to the orange-scented pastiera but also to the filling of the sfogliatella. Its name derives from the Italian for ‘millet’, a cereal used in ancient Roman times but also in the Middle Ages when it was introduced to the area around Vesuvius and also to Tuscany where it was mixed with pig’s blood and flour. In Campania, Migliaccio is popular on the Sorrento coast and around Naples, where it has become a traditional cake, although there is also a savoury variety. The tasty recipe varies from town to town: some add aniseed or strega liqueur, others use almonds or candied peel, but Migliaccio is simple to make at home. This is the most popular recipe.

Ingredients (for 12 persons)

– 250 g semolina

– 1 litre milk

– 300/350 g sugar

– 500 g soft ricotta cheese

– 2 sachets vanilla essence

– 1 small phial of orange flower water (or lemon and orange zest)

-5 eggs

– 30 g butter

– pinch of salt


Warm the milk, butter and salt in a pan. When it starts to boil, sprinkle in the semolina and simmer for a few minutes, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture thickens, remove from the heat and continue to stir so that it cools. Mix the ricotta cheese with half of the sugar using a whisk. Put the remaining sugar and the eggs in another bowl and mix in the vanilla essence and the orange flour water (or lemon and orange zest) with a fork. Add the ricotta mixture to this and mix well. Spoon the mixture gradually into the cold semolina and mix thoroughly. If lumps form, these can be removed with the aid of a food processor. Pour the mixture into a greased and floured non-stick baking pan and place in an oven heated to 180°/200° C for 45-50 minutes, when the surface becomes golden. Remove the Migliaccio from the oven and leave to cool before removing from the baking pan. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.