In the south of Italy, where people are intensely religious and superstitious, the boob cake cult is booming.
They are delectable, handcrafted half-sphere sponge cupcakes that resemble the petite, firm breasts of a teen girl (practically a D bra size). Filled with melting cream or fresh ricotta sheep’s cheese blended with cinnamon, lemon juice, and dark chocolate crumbs, they are coated in a thick coating of crunch and capped with a little sweet ball like a nipple.
Despite the deliciousness of the breast cake, it is associated with a tragic event that occurred in the third century.
Saint Agatha was a teenage Christian virgin who was tortured by a lecherous Roman consul fascinated with her beauty and grace. The aristocrat took off Agatha’s breasts with a pair of tweezers after she rebuffed his attempts to court her. Agatha’s breasts suddenly grew back and she was cured, but her harasser, who had grown increasingly enraged, murdered her by making her roll naked over hot coals.
However, her breasts and other body parts escaped the flames and became holy relics. Due to the fact that one breast wound up in one spot and the other in another, Agatha is now the patron saint of multiple cities in southern Italy.
In the community of Altamura, located in the deep Puglia region where a breast relic is revered, locals are embarrassed to refer to these erotic cakes as “virgin boobs,” so they opt for the more delicate “Venus or Nuns’ sighs” to emphasise their deliciousness. The experience of tasting one induces literal sighs of joy and provides a state of gourmet rapture. Here, they are filled with a delicate cream and dusted with sugar, and they come in two varieties: with or without a glossy white frosting. The pastry-making process, which has been passed on to a chef, is nevertheless supervised by the nuns of the local monastery.
The sighs have become a protected cake in the nearby town of Bisceglie, where a group of pastry chefs fervently preserve the original recipe, which consists of sponge cake sprinkled with fine sugar and aromatic spices.
“According to legend, the first sigh was made by a nun during the Renaissance for the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia to a local lord, but it was never celebrated, so the guests sighed and sighed both for the time they had to wait and for the exquisite cup cakes served anyway,” says local housewife Giulia Specchia, who makes sighs in her Bisceglie home.
How to make a boob cake
1. Bake the rounded tops of the breasts in 8″ stainless steel globe pans (read my tutorial on how to bake cakes in hemisphere pans).
2. Slice the cakes and alternately stack them with the filling in two 5 quart KitchenAid mixer bowls (or two identical bowls of any kind).
The end result should be two perfectly round and identical orbs.
3. Carve the bottoms of the cakes to make them more circular. Keep the cakes wrapped in plastic wrap to keep them fresh.
4. Use a small offset spatula to apply a crumb coat of buttercream. For a light skin tone, I combined vanilla buttercream with cocoa powder. Refrigerate the cake.
5. Applied a final coat of buttercream.
6. Smooth the buttercream frosting until the surface is circular and even. To frost rounder cakes, I use a little offset spatula and my gloved hand.