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Italian Angelica Cake (Torta)

This Italian Angelica Cake or Torta in Italian, is not only delicious it is also beautiful. The perfect soft brioche bread full of chocolate chips perfect for the holidays. A special occasion sweet bread.

This gorgeous bread would make the perfect Christmas morning treat or even dessert. This year I plan on serving my Fresh Cream Vanilla Cake and of course it wouldn’t be Christmas with an Old Fashioned Gingerbread Cake.

Angelica cake on parchment paper with a small green pouring jar


Yes i am back to bread making, and there is nothing better than a soft brioche bread full of chocolate chips to make everyone happy.

I discovered this Italian holiday sweet bread, Angelica Torta in a recently purchased cookbook, Sorelle Simili – Pane e Roba Dolce.

I knew i had to give it a go as soon as i saw it. And I knew I had to share it as soon as we tasted it.

It may look elaborate and difficult but it isn’t. I hope my step by step photos will be really helpful for you. Happy Baking!

Recipe Ingredients

For the biga

  • Water
  • Honey – or granulated sugar (same amount)
  • Flour – all purpose flour
  • Yeast – active dry yeast

Sweet Dough

  • Flour – all purpose flour
  • Salt
  • Milk – I use 2% or whole milk
  • Egg yolks – large egg yolks
  • Sugar – granulated sugar
  • Butter – softened butter


  • Butter – melted
  • Chocolate chips – unsweetened or milk, regular or mini chocolate chips

Vanilla Glaze

  • Powdered sugar – also known as icing or confectioners’ sugar
  • Vanilla – vanilla extract
  • Milk or cream – I prefer cream

How to make the Angelica Cake

  • Making the Biga – In a small bowl add the flour, yeast and water, mix together.
making the biga in a small bowl
  • Knead into a compact ball.
kneaded into a small bowl and waiting to rise
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic and a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm draft free area for 1 – 1 1/2 hours.
the risen biga after 2 hours
  • Second Knead – In the bowl of the stand up mixer whisk the flour and salt together.
  • Make a well in the middle and add the milk, egg yolks and sugar, start to knead with the dough hook.
adding the ingredients for the 2nd rise in the mixing bowl
  • Once it is combined add the butter in pieces, knead between additions until completely combined.
adding the butter to the mixture
  • Then add the biga a little at a time and knead between additions until completely combined.
adding the biga to the dough
  • Knead for about three minutes.
letting the dough rise a 2nd time
  • Cover the bowl and let rise in a warm draft free area for 2-3 hours.
the dough has risen after the 2nd rise
  • Final Knead – Roll the dough to a rectangle, brush with melted butter and then sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.
rolling the dough into a rectangle and sprinkling with chocolate chips
  • Tightly roll the dough up lengthwise.
rolling the dough up lengthwise
  • Slice the roll down the middle lengthwise in two ropes with a very sharp knife.
cutting the dough in half lengthwise
  • Then crisscross the two ropes one over the other like a braid, form into a circle and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
twisting the dough
  • Cover and let rise 1 hour.
letting the dough rise for the 3rd time
  • Brush lightly with an egg wash and bake for approximately 25-35 minutes.
brusing with egg wash and ready to bake
  • Let the cake cool then drizzle with the vanilla glaze before serving.
the baked angelica cake

What is a Biga?

You may think that a Poolish and a Biga are the same, but the main difference is that a Poolish is a liquid dough and a Biga is a solid dough.

A Biga is a type of rise used in Italian baking. Many popular Italian breads, including a ciabatta and Pandoro, are made using a Biga.

The addition of a  Biga is said to add more flavour to the finished product and is also used in breads that need a light, open texture with holes.

What to use instead of mini chocolate chips

In Italy besides using mini chocolate chips people love to use candied fruit, raisins or even nuts. A mixture of chopped nuts and chips would be delicious.

Angelica cake on parchment paper with a small green pouring jar

Tips for making the best brioche bread

  1. If the yeast is old or you think it may not be good any longer test it. Sprinkle a teaspoon of  yeast and a pinch of sugar over the top of a half cup of water, stir it, then let it stand for about 3-4 minutes. If the yeast is still good, it will dissolve completely into the water and the liquid will start bubbling.
  2. Make sure the temperature of the water is not too hot or too cold, the correct temperature should be between 100-110F.
  3. Be sure to lightly oil the bowl before adding the dough and roll the dough in the bowl to lightly cover the top, this prevents the dough from crusting on top.
  4. Be sure to cover the dough and let it rise in a warm draft free area.
  5. Brioche bread is not hard to make just time consuming, make sure you have the time before you start.
  6. If the top of the bread is browning too much, then lightly cover it with foil and continue baking.
  7. Once the bread is baked move immediately to a wire rack to cool.
Angelica cake on parchment paper with a small green pouring jar

How to know when the Angelica Cake is done

It should sound hollow when tapped, and the temperature at the centre of the braid will read 190°F (375C) when using an instant-read thermometer.

How to store the bread

The baked cooled bread should be stored tightly in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature. It will last up to three days.

Can you freeze it?

The cooled bread can be frozen. Wrap it in plastic wrap and place in a freezer safe bag. It will keep for up to two months. I would recommend freezing it without the glaze.

More Delicious Italian Cakes to enjoy

Easy Italian Apple Cake

Classic Italian Tiramisu Layer Cake

Mascarpone Cake with Raspberry Cream

Italian Pear Cake

This delicious sweet bread would make the perfect Christmas morning breakfast or even a stunning dessert. Let me know if you give this Angelica Cake a try. Enjoy!

a slice of angelica cake on a white paper
Angelica cake on parchment paper with a small green pouring jar

Italian Angelica Cake / Torta

Rosemary Molloy
This Italian Angelica Cake or Torta in Italian, the perfect soft brioche bread full of chocolate chips. A special occasion sweet bread.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Resting Time / Rising Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 45 minutes
Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 12 servings
Calories 228 kcal


  • stand up mixer with dough hook
  • large cookie sheet



  • 2 1/2 tablespoons lukewarm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (73 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast


  • 1 1/2 cups +2 tablespoons all purpose flour (210 grams)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup milk* (60 grams)
  • 2 large egg yolks*
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter softened (52 grams)

*Remove from fridge 45-60 minutes before using.


    • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter melted
    • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips (135 grams)


    • 1 cup powdered / icing sugar (120 grams)
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1-2 tablespoons milk or cream



    • In a small bowl stir together the water and honey, then add the yeast and flour, mix together, then move the mixture to a flat surface and knead into a compact ball. Place in a small lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to lightly cover in the oil, cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and let rise for one hour in a warm draft free area.


    • In the bowl of the stand up mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the flour and salt and whisk together, then make a well in the middle and add the milk, egg yolks and sugar, start to knead on low until combined. Then add the butter a little at a time, make sure the butter is combined before adding more. Knead for about 2-3 minutes until smooth and all the butter is incorporated.
    • Add the Biga the same way a little at a time until completely combined, kneading again 3 minutes. Cover with a towel and let rise two to three hours or until doubled in bulk.
    • Roll the dough into a 20 x 12 inch (52 x 33 cm) rectangle. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the chocolate chips.
    • Tightly roll the dough up lengthwise, using a very sharp knife slice the roll down the middle lengthwise in two ropes. Then join the two ends at the top and criss cross the ropes into a braid. Form into a circle joining the remaining two ends (wet the ends with a little water to keep them together). Place the dough circle on a large parchment paper lined cookie sheet, cover and let rise one hour.
    • Pre-heat oven to 350F (180C).
    • Brush the bread lightly with a little milk and bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. If the top is browning too much at the 18-20 minute mark then lightly cover with foil and continue baking. Once the cake is baked move immediately to a wire rack to cool. Let cool before drizzling with glaze. Enjoy!


    • In a bowl combine the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk or cream. Whisk together until creamy. If too runny then add more sugar.


    Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 47mg | Sodium: 156mg | Potassium: 36mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 20g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
    Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a comment below or pin it to your Pinterest account!


    1. Dear Rosemary, Thank you so much for your help. I just found this article which helped me a lot and I can make the dough in no time. I will let you know as soon as I make it. I have another question. Is it possible to use flour that is one month past its expiration date? Many thanks and please forgive me because of my frequent questions. Have a great time.

      1. Hi Nooshin, that’s great, yes let me know. The flour should still be good, if it doesn’t show any signs of deterioration and it’s been kept in a cool dry place it should be fine. Don’t apologize for the questions ask away. Take care.

      1. Hi Nooshin, I have never used a food processor for kneading but apparently you can, I found this article which might help you. https://www.americastestkitchen.com/guides/how-to-use-a-food-processor/how-to-knead-dough-with-your-food-processor Let me know if you try it.

    2. Hi dear Rosemary,
      I hope you are doing well and in great health. I wanted to make this cake, but I don’t have the bowl of the standup mixer. Can I knead the dough with my hands, and secondly, can I use sugar instead of honey? I will appreciate it if you letting me know.

      1. Hi Nooshin, thanks I am good and I hope you are too! Yes you can make the dough by hand, be sure to knead it until it is smooth it usually take about double the time by hand, sometimes more. Yes you can substitute the honey with sugar, the same amount. Hope that helps. Take care!

    3. 5 stars
      Started Italian angelica torta immediately but was stumped when couldn’t find oven temp! Had to wing it. Torta is delicious. Thank you for your delicious recipes.

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