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White Cake Semifreddo with Berries & Zabaione

Not really a semifreddo but "ice cream cake" just wouldn't do it justice.

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by Angela Gallardo in Desserts, Recipes




I’ve been experimenting with refined-sugar-free meringues (vainly hoping for a pavlova) and ended up with a million egg yolks in the fridge.  Our dogs love helping eat the extra yolks but we don’t love their egg farts so much.

Anyways…I hadn’t tried a zabaione with natural sweetener so I did that and holy cow, I could eat it with a spoon!  I made more than one batch and then was back to having extra egg whites.  And since I couldn’t stomach another failed pav, I ended up with this white cake!  And thank heavens, the eggs whites and yolks match up. 🙂 Whew, what a fun backstory.

This isn’t really a semifreddo.  Since that’s more of a huge block of zabaione, or zabaione folded with a LOT more cream.

I’m not sure.

This is probably more of an ice cream cake but I didn’t feel like that name did it justice.  And since the zabaione in the layers gets all ice cream-y when you serve it, semifreddo (translation: semi-frozen) felt more appropriate.

It’s a little bit tedious (though not difficult at all) but it’s so worth it.  It tastes so decadent and indulgent and it’s fifty times better for you than a Baskin Robbins ice cream cake!

P.S. huge apologies for not snapping pics of the assembly.  I realized when typing it up that the cake cutting sounds a bit complex.  Hopefully it makes sense. If not, email me before you begin!

P.P.S. questions on cassava flour? See here.

Get a printable PDF of the recipe

White Cake Semifreddo with Berries & Zabaione

For the cake:

5 egg whites

½ c. avocado oil*

⅓ c. honey

⅓ c. light coconut milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract

1 c. cassava flour

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. sea salt


Preheat the oven to 300F.  Line the bottom of a 9×13 pan with a sheet of parchment paper and grease the paper.

Combine the egg whites, avocado oil, honey, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract together in the bold of a stand mixer.  Mix well on medium speed with the paddle attachment.

In a separate bowl, combine the cassava flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.  Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on medium high speed until the cake batter is smooth.

Pour the batter into the lined pan and smooth it out evenly.  Bake for 14-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool the cake completely in the pan before inverting carefully onto a flat surface.

Note: read through the rest of the instructions for how to cut the cake for assembling.  You can optionally pulse the excess cake pieces through the food processor and toast them in the oven (300F for 10-15 minutes, tossing occasionally) if you want a crumb topping garnish, as shown in the pics.

For the berry sauce:

2 pints your choice berries (I used half raspberry/half blackberry)

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 tbsp. honey

1 tbsp. tapioca starch


Stir all the ingredients together in a medium saucepan.  Then place the pan over medium heat and stir continuously until the berries have broken down and the sauce is thick and syrupy, about 10 minutes.  Set it aside to cool before layering.

For the zabaione cream:

5 egg yolks

3 tbsp. honey

2 tbsp. vanilla extract (or fortified wine for more traditional)

⅔ c. unsweetened whipped coconut cream, chilled


Whisk together the egg yolks and honey in a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water (double boiler method) and continue to whisk vigorously until the yolks are pale yellow and have increased in volume (about triple their original volume).  This can take up to 15 minutes so it helps to use a hand mixer.  You’ll know it’s ready when the mix falls in thick shiny ribbons (this video at 1:10 shows the correct texture).  Add the vanilla extract in and continue to whisk to incorporate it.  Move the zabaione to the refrigerator to fully chill, about 30 minutes.

Once both are chilled, fold the whipped coconut cream together with the zabaione.  It should barely be mixed together — do not overmix or it can get flat and super runny.  Place it back in the fridge until assembling.

To assemble:

Line a standard bread loaf pan with 2 pieces of saran wrap going both width-wise and length-wise, with excess hanging over the sides.

Approximate 3 cuts in the cake to yield pieces that are just slightly more narrow than the width of your bread pan (I used a 3.75″ width for my 4″ width bread pan).  It helps to visualize it by holding the loaf pan in the air above the cake, matching up the length of the loaf pan with the width of the 9×13 cake — they should match up pretty close at around 9″.  My loaf pan was slightly shorter in length than 9″ so I trimmed about ½” off the edges to fit them in the loaf pan better.  After making the 3 cuts, you should have 3 rectangular pieces that are the size of your loaf pan and a ¾” approximate strip of cake leftover.  Set the excess aside for later.

Assemble the semifreddo by layering from the bottom up in this order:

1.  thin layer of zabaione cream

2.  first rectangular piece of cake

3.  thin layer of berry sauce

4.  thick layer of zabaione cream (about ½”)

5.  second rectangular piece of cake

6.  thin layer of berry sauce

7.  thick layer of zabaione cream (about ½”)

8.  third rectangular piece of cake

9.  thin layer of berry sauce (you’ll have some leftover sauce for serving)

10.  remaining zabaione cream

Chill the cake until fully frozen, a minimum 4 hours.  To serve, use the saran wrap to pull the cake out of the pan.  Invert the cake onto the surface you’ll be slicing it on, remove all the saran wrap, and let it thaw for about 15-30 minutes before cutting (this depends on the temperature in your home).

Serve with the berry sauce, extra berries, and cake crumb topping, as desired.

*Regarding the avocado oil:  I don’t recommend a saturated fat here (butter, ghee coconut oil, etc) since that will just make it take longer to thaw.  The avocado oil will yield a moister cake that stays moist despite being frozen.

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