Amalfi coast with amalfi lemons in the background
Food&Drinks,  Italian Cuisine

10+ Reasons Why You Should Taste Amalfi Coast Lemon Cake At Least Once In Your Lifetime

Are you planning a visit to South Italy’s Amalfi Coast? Then make sure you put the delicious lemon cake on your TO-DO list.

However, if you’re not travelling, but you simply want to bring some true Italian flavour to your table, then read on. Because following the recipe won’t be enough.

You really want to visualize that Italian beauty, the essence of the Mediterranean sea, bright yellow Amalfi lemon – the very symbol of Campania’s coastline.

A collage of three photos showing bright yellow amalfi lemons with mediterranean blue sea and a pallet of three domiant colors

A little bit of background

As the Great Italian Chefs said it:

"Mention Amalfi to anyone with a hint of a food brain, and only one thing comes to mind - lemons."

Yes – this zesty, yellow fruit is an iconic symbol of not only Amalfi Coast, but Sorrento one as well.

There are two reasons I’m mentioning these two places:

Make sure to memorize this by heart if you wish to sound very smart while serving your juicy lemon cake.

Now, let’s go back to the Amalfi Coast version.

Check out this list, and see for yourself if they are indeed so special:

With all this in mind – it’s not surprising that this coastline (both Amalfi and Sorrento) was a birthplace of limoncello, as well as the famous Delizia al Limone.

Pasticceria Sal De Riso – Minori, Amalfi Coast

Pasticceria Sal De Riso is located at the seafront of Minori (Amalfi coast town). And the man behind this heavenly place is Italy’s most famous pastry chef Salvatore de Riso.

But, he wasn’t the first one in the family to get famous for using lemons.

The history behind Sal De Riso

In 1908 Salvatore’s aunt Carolina Florio (Lilliana)and his father Antonio opened a bar/tobacco shop. When the summer came that very same year, Antonio started making granitas and ice creams made of zone’s famous lemons.

Granita is a semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavourings. This dessert originates from Sicily.

Here’s how he made them, in words of Salvatore De Riso himself:

"They were homemade by my father. He scraped and grated the lemons with a piece of glass. Then he let all the tiny pieces fall into a mixture of water and sugar. After a few hours to this perfumed infusion he added lemon juice.
Then he mixed and mixed them still by hand in a metal washtub full of ice which was covered with salt so that it wouldn't melt quickly. With a spatula in hand, he mixed and mixed this liquid until it turned to ice chips, in other words, granita.
Still today the old folks who've always lived on the Amalfi Coast tell me how they used to come to Minori during the summer to savour my father's granita because it was out-of-this-world."

Salvatore De Riso

Salvatore De Riso is famous for his innovative way of thinking. His mission was to introduce new desserts to the South of Italy. His first invention were lemon profiterole, followed by a reinvention of tiramisu. He simply changed the ingredients of one of the most beloved Italian desserts. Salvatore used limoncello instead of coffee and lemon cream instead of mascarpone and zabaione.

The next in line was Dolce di Amalfi – a cake that stays fresh for three months. Together with limoncello, this makes a perfect souvenir.

In 1998 he invented his famous pear and ricotta cake. He used and is still using, only local products: hazelnuts from Giffoni, ricotta from Tramonti, and pears from Agerola.

This cake is among the top three desserts in his Pasticceria. The other two are Anastasia cake and – delizia al limone. So let’s talk about it!

Delizia al Limone

If you ask anybody in Campania what’s Sal De Riso’s most famous cake – they’ll tell you it’s Delizia al Limone.

Fun fact: Salvatore de Riso did not invent it.

A collage of two photos showing Amalfi lemon cake Delizia al Limone di Sal de Riso and typical lemon liquor limoncello

Delizia al Limone was created for the first time in 1978, just around the corner – in Sorrento, by another famous pastry chef Carmine Marzuillo.

This creamy lemon delight became instantly one of the favourite sweets in Campania, but it was Sal De Riso that made it worldwide famous.

Now that you have all your facts and you can be an absolute Megamind on the topic, let’s talk about the recipe and ingredients.

Amalfi lemon cake recipe

Just how decadent is this creamy delight?

Well, Delizia al limone is a sponge cake filled with lemon cream, brushed with Limoncello syrup and covered in whipped cream and lemon glaze, sprinkled with lemon zest.

I truly hope you left counting calories at home before coming to Italy. But if you didn’t – now’s the time.

Sponge cake (5 servings)

Lemon cream

Lemon syrup

Lemon curd

The main takeaway

I honestly don’t doubt that you’re a master chef – and if you actually decide to make this cake, do send me a photo. I still didn’t try to do it!

In fact – I’m hoping that this article pushed you towards making a decision to pack your suitcases and set the course for the beautiful Costiera Amalfitana.

Not much can compare with ordering a takeaway Delizia al limone (this way you’ll pay less), and strolling down the Minori boardwalk while enjoying the creamy delight under the South Italian sun.

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I am an art historian turned content strategist who spends days exploring what makes people tick on all channels of communication. I love making sense of data, exploring new AI tools and crafting compelling content that raises brand authority. This doesn’t really come as a surprise considering my background – Interwar propaganda art that earned her two MA degrees and articles in international scientific journals.

2 Comments

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