Italian with Cher
30 Minute Italian
22 Must-Know Vocabulary Words for Making Dessert in Italian

22 Must-Know Vocabulary Words for Making Dessert in Italian

Learn how to read recipes for baking in Italian so you can create mouth-watering dolci from home.

Note: This episode is from the archives of the 30 Minute Italian Podcast. All of the links mentioned regarding The Iceberg Project in the episode are no longer active. If you have a question about where to find a resource, read the show notes below or leave a comment so I can help you find something similar!

I love dessert…

…at all times of the day and particularly before dinner because it makes me feel rebellious.

To continue on with our cooking words from the article on pasta, here is a recipe on how to make torta di mele, or apple cake.

Note that dessert recipes require that you know what the heck you’re doing with them in English before you can tackle them in Italian, so don’t be frustrated if you can’t understand them even with the translations.

Find the recipe here: Torta di mele

For this one we have a bit of description about the cake. The most important part of this paragraph is the last line.


“La torta di mele si conserva ottimamente per 4-5 giorni, ben coperta sotto una campana di vetro.” – The apple cake conserves itself best for 4-5 days, well covered beneath a bell jar.

Then we have the ingredients:


600 grams of apples – 2 ½ cups of apples
1 lemon
400 grams of soft wheat flour type 00 – 1 ¾ cups
1 bag of yeast for sweets
1 bag of vanillin
160 milligrams of milk- 2/3 cup
100 grams of butter – ½ cup
4 chicken eggs
Powdered sugar
Butter and flour for the mold

To convert from grams to cups, use this site. 


It serves up to twelve people, has 290 kilocalories per portion, easy difficulty, ready in one hour, vegetarian recipe, can be prepared in advance, and can be eaten outside, like at a picnic.

After, we have the preparation steps.


Verbs to know are:

  • Lavare – To wash

    • Lavare le mele – To wash the apples

  • Eliminare –To remove

    • Eliminare il torsolo interno – To remove the inner core

  • Imburrare – To grease

    • Imburrare bene uno stampo tondo con cerniera apribile – To grease well a round mold with an openable hinge

  • Spruzzare – To splash, sprinkle

  • Annerire – To blacken

    • Spruzzarle con qualche goccia di succo di limone per non farle annerire – To sprinkle them with some drops of lemon juice to not make them blacken

  • Preriscaldare – To preheat

    • Preriscaldare il forno a 180 C (around 350 F). – Preheat the oven to 180 C.

  • Setacciare – To sift

    • Setacciare in una ciotola la farina con il lievito. – To sift the flour in a bowl with the yeast.

  • Far intiepidire – To make lukewarm (not to be confused with ‘riscaldare’ = to make warm)

    • Far intiepidire il latte. – Make lukewarm the milk.

  • Utilizzare – To use

    • La preparazione dell’impasto può avvenire in una ciotola utilizzando le fruste elettriche… - The preparation of the mix can happen in a bowl using an electric mixer.

  • Lavorare – To work

    • Lavorare lo zucchero con il burro ammorbidito fino ad ottenere un composto bianco e spumoso. – Work the sugar with the softened butter until reaching a white and frothy mixture.

  • Unire – To combine

  • Frullare – To beat, whisk

    • Unire i tuorli uno alla volta continuando a frullare. – Combine the yolks one at a time continuing to whisk.

  • Montare – To whip, beat

    • Montare gli albumi a neve – Beat the eggs white until stiff

  • Incorporare – To incorporate

    • …incorporarli al composto delicatamente – incorporating them to the mix delicately

  • Colare – To pour slowly

    • Colare il composto nello stampo – Pour the mix slowly into the mold

  • Lasciare – To leave, let

    • Lasciare la torta per qualche minuto nel forno spento con lo sportello semiaperto – Leave the cake for some minutes in the turned off oven with the door semi open.

  • Cospargere – To sprinkle

    • Quando si è intiepidita toglierla dallo stampo e cospargerla con lo zucchero a velo. – When it’s cooled down take from the mold and sprinkle it with the powdered sugar.

Words and phrases to know are:

  • Tagliare a fettine – To slice up into slivers

  • L’ingrediente successivo – The next ingredient

  • Fino ad – Until

  • Aggiungere – To add

  • Miscela – Blend

Your Task: Translate the entire recipe OR make the cake and post a picture.

Questions or comments? Leave ‘em below!

Leave a comment

Italian with Cher
30 Minute Italian
Boost your confidence in speaking Italian in 30 minutes or less with the 30 Minute Italian Podcast. We cover expressions, sometimes sexy grammar, and culture through personal travel stories and detailed examples.