Cooking with Opera – recipes to sing about…

To coincide with West Australian Opera’s and Visit Perth’s brand new digital series – Cooking with Opera, presenter and writer Daniele Foti-Cuzzola shares an operatic inspired dish that’s worth singing about. 

The Donizetti Cake which originates from Bergamo, Italy is named after the city’s beloved composer Gaetano Donizetti who wrote many beloved operas including The Elixir of Love and Lucia Di Lammermoor.

Legend has it that Donizetti was suffering from a broken heart when he went to fellow composer and friend Gioachino Rossini’s house for dinner.

Rossini who was an avid foodie was saddened to see his friend in low spirits during his dinner and asked his cook to prepare something to lift his mood. The cook searched for what he had in his kitchen and added candied apricots, pineapple and maraschino to a traditional sponge recipe.

Today the Donizetti Cake is a staple in Donizetti’s home city of Bergamo and it is widely said there that a piece of Donizetti can help mend a broken heart. 

To learn about other operatic inspired dishes stream West Australian Opera and Visit Perth’s Cooking with Opera series – where each week you’ll see the artistry of opera and the culinary artistry of some of Perth’s top restaurants and eateries collide.

Donizetti Cake
Donizetti Cake – by Daniele Foti-Cuzzola

Donizetti Cake Recipe 


  • 255 g butter at room temperature 
  • 140 g sugar 
  • 8 egg yolks 
  • 4 egg whites 
  • 85 g plain flour 
  • 110 g potato starch 
  • 85g candied pineapple diced 
  • 120g candied apricot diced
  • 1 tablespoon Maraschino cherries
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence  
  • Icing sugar to serve 


  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees and butter a doughnut shaped spring form tin. 
  2. In an electric mixer combine butter and 120 g of the sugar on high speed for one minute or until well combined. Add the egg yolks one at a time and continue to mix on medium speed. 
  3. In a separate bowl whisk the four egg whites with the remaining sugar until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk and butter mixture. 
  4. Mix ingredients on a low-medium speed and while the motor is running gradually add the flour and potato starch, followed by the candied pineapple, apricot, maraschino cherry and vanilla essence until well combined. 
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form tin and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. 
  6. Leave too cool for a few minutes in the tin, before removing onto a wire rack. Allow to cool and serve with a generous sprinkling of icing sugar.