La Torta di Riso

Soft Tuscan Rice Cake


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes



Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

It is the rich, eggy and sticky quality of this cake that makes it the traditional Tuscan children’s cake - despite containing a little brandy. Delicious and incredibly filling, it is like a home-made version of those little oval rice cakes you can buy at all Tuscan cafés and pâtisseries, called simply budino, which literally translates as ‘pudding’. All Tuscans know that budino contains rice, but the name is always guaranteed to confuse anybody who does not come from the region. This is the classic version of the recipe, but you can vary the cake by adding nuts or candied fruits, if you like.


  • 150 g/5 oz/ cup short grain rice
  • 1.2 litres/2 pints/5 cups milk butter, for greasing
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp semolina
  • 9 eggs
  • 225 g/8 oz/generous 1 cup caster/superfine sugar
  • 45 ml/3 tbsp brandy
  • grated rind of 1 unwaxed lemon


  1. Put the rice and 750 ml/1 pints/3 cups of the milk into a pan. Boil for 10 minutes, then drain, reserving the milk, which will have absorbed some of the starch from the rice. Set aside to cool slightly.

  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4. Butter a 25cm/10in fixed-base cake tin or pan, thoroughly, and then sprinkle with the semolina. (Do not use a loose-based one, or it will leak.) Turn the cake tin upside down and shake to remove any loose semolina.
  3. Using an electric whisk, beat the eggs in a large bowl until foaming and pale yellow. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly, then add the brandy and lemon rind. Stir well.

  4. Add the rice and remaining milk (including the reserved milk). Pour into the cake tin.

  5. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. The cake should be well set and golden brown. Serve warm or cold.