Crumbly Cake / Torta Sbrisolona
This flat, crumbly cake comes from Mantua in the region of Lombardy. My friend Terri Rozzi, who comes from that region, gave me her recipe, which I have altered slightly. Use finely ground cornmeal; if you have only coarse cornmeal, grind it fine in a food processor. This batter is more the consistency of a dough; don’t be surprised by its compactness and dryness, which give it its crumbly texture and its name. This is a good cake to have on hand for company.
- 2 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour
- 1 1/3 cups finely ground cornmeal
- 1 cup whole almonds, finely chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup lard
- 3 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 Grated zest oflemon
- Confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly grease a 10 by 2-inch round cake pan. In a bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, almonds, and sugar together. With a pastry blender or your hands, work in the butter and lard until the mixture is the consistency of coarse cornmeal.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest together. Add to the flour and blend with your hands. The batter will be very stiff.
- Pat the batter into the pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is nicely browned.
- Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack, then dust the top with confectioner's sugar. Cut into wedges to serve.
- Variation: Serve the cake as a shortcake, either split in half or whole, with sliced and sugared fresh strawberries or other fruits. It is also good with ice cream.
- Note: Use finely ground cornmeal; if you have only coarse cornmeal, grind it fine in a food processor.
This recipe was featured on Season 8 - Episode 813.