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La Dolce Vita: 8 Irresistible Italian Desserts

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Slice of ricotta cheesecake with fresh raspberries on a plate.

Why spend a fortune at a fancy Italian restaurant or pastry shop when you can indulge in the authentic flavors of Italy right from your own kitchen? This list of easy-to-make Italian desserts has got you covered, from classic and crowd-pleasing tiramisu to crunchy biscotti to everything in between. Whether you’re an experienced baker or just starting out, these recipes are straightforward and easy to follow. So why not treat your loved ones to a delicious Italian meal, complete with an irresistible homemade dessert? With these simple yet satisfying Italian dessert recipes, you’re guaranteed to impress!

La Dolce Vita: 8 Irresistible Italian Desserts

1. Tiramisu

Slice of tiramisu on plate.The decadent Italian dessert known as tiramisu, which translates to “pick me up” in Italian, is created by layering espresso-soaked ladyfingers with a luxurious mixture of mascarpone cheese, eggs, sugar, and cream. The finished dessert is then topped with cocoa powder and chilled overnight to allow the ladyfingers to soften and the flavors to meld together. Get the recipe for Tiramisu.


almond biscotti on plate with coffee.

Photo by Alexandra Grablewski (Chronicle Books, 2018)

Taking inspiration from the almond biscotti served at the renowned San Francisco Zuni Cafe, these Italian cookies start with an almond-laden dough flavored with both vanilla and almond extracts. The cookies deliver on every front: a rich buttery flavor, a delicate sweetness, and a satisfying crunch. Whether you’re enjoying them with your morning coffee or for dessert, they make for a delicious treat. Get the recipe for Almond Biscotti.


Slice of ricotta cheesecake with raspberries on a plate.

Inspired by the “Obsessive Ricotta Cheesecake” in the late Gina DePalma’s Dolce Italiano, Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, this dessert looks like something you’d see in the window of an Italian pastry shop. Combining cream cheese and ricotta cheese, along with a crust made from ground almonds, this cheesecake recipe blends the best of both American and Italian-style cheesecakes. Get the recipe for Ricotta Cheesecake.


chocolate kiss cookies on platter.

Another wonderful recipe adapted from the late pastry chef Gina DePalma’s cookbook Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen, these charming sandwich cookies are a twist on Italy’s famous baci di dama (lady’s kisses) cookies, which consist of two bite-sized hazelnut cookies with a decadent chocolate filling. As DePalma explains, “Baci means ‘kisses’ in Italian, and here two chocolate cookies are sandwiched with a kiss of chocolate ganache. It is highly likely that the lucky people who devour them will kiss you for making them.” Get the recipe for Chocolate Kisses.


Sliced olive oil cake missing a piece.

Don’t be deceived by the humble look of this lemon-scented olive oil cake. Despite its plain appearance, its flavor is spectacular. The oil lends a fruity richness and also helps the cake stays moist for days. Replacing some of the flour with cornmeal takes the recipe up a notch and lends a pleasing texture. It’s wonderful on its own, especially warm from the oven, but pair it with macerated berries or a citrusy fruit salad and it’s even more special. Get the recipe for Olive Oil Cake.

6. Double Chocolate Biscotti

Chocolate Biscotti on baking sheet.

These crunchy biscotti with a double dose of chocolate are a chocoholic’s dream and perfect for dipping into coffee or tea. Unlike packaged biscotti found at many coffee shops that can resemble bricks, these treats are delicately crunchy and a true delight. Get the recipe for Double Chocolate Biscotti.

7. Irish Cream Tiramisu

Partially-served dish of tiramisu.

This classic tiramisu from Nigella Lawson is made with Baileys Irish Cream instead of rum. It’s a fun twist on the classic and a dinner party regular at our house. Spend 20 minutes assembling the dessert then just pop it in the fridge overnight. Get the recipe for Irish Cream Tiramisu.


Slices of chocolate chip ricotta cake on small plates.

I’ve had the pleasure of baking many cakes over the years, but this chocolate chip ricotta cake, adapted from A Good Bake by Melissa Weller and Carolynn Carreno, is the crème de la crème. The addition of ricotta cheese not only enriches the flavor but also produces an incredibly moist texture. Mini chocolate chips are scattered throughout, pleasing all ages. No doubt about it, this cake is pure greatness. Get the recipe for Chocolate Chip Ricotta Cake.


  • 5 stars and easy. Followed recipe and did bake a little longer. Froze leftover cake but did freeze in portions as first time I froze hard to cut a slice . A great recipe. Didn’t have orange didn’t miss it. Raspberry’s froze no problem.

    • — Lissa Gandin on December 12, 2023
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  • I just love Italian food, and your recipes are just so awesome.

    • — Bonny Parr on April 27, 2023
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