Thursday, March 11, 2010
Florentine Schiacciata - Carnival Cake
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is a quick and easy version of Schiacciata alla Fiorentina, a flat cake served by Florentines during their extended Carnival season. The cake is flavored with orange zest and extra virgin olive oil and, while it can be made with yeast, this version is leavened with baking soda and can be assembled in about 15 minutes. It's a lovely cake. It's lighter than an American sponge cake and it has an unusual, but very pleasant, fruity flavor. It is best served for dessert and it's wonderful with a slightly sweet fortified wine. I learned to make a version of this cake in the kitchen of an Italian neighbor when I was a child. There are, literally, hundreds of recipes for this treat. I like this one because it so nicely blends the flavors of the Tuscan orange and olive groves. Be sure to use extra virgin olive oil if you decide to make this. Anything else would be too strong for a dessert cake. It is also very important to make sure the cake is completely cooked before it's removed from the oven. Test in several areas, not just in the center of the cake. This is a moist cake and will stay fresh for several days if properly wrapped and refrigerated. Oh, before I forget, schiacciata is pronounced ski-ah-CHA-ta. I'm quite sensitive to this. I was able to make the cake long before I could pronounce its name and there was a lot of good natured teasing at my expense. Here's the recipe.
Florentine Schiacciata - Carnival Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite and La Cucina Italiana
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-1/2 cups whole milk
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar for dusting cake
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line the bottom of a 9 x 9 x 2-inch pan with wax or parchment paper. Grease and flour pan. Set aside.
2) Whisk eggs, sugar, orange zest and juice in a large bowl. Combine olive oil and milk in a two cup measure. Whisk into egg mixture. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Fold into egg mixture until smooth. Pour into prepared pan.
3) Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until done. Cool on a wire rack for ten minutes before removing from pan. Invert on rack to complete cooling. Sprinkle a liberal layer of confectioners' sugar over top of cake before serving. Yield: 9 servings.
You might also enjoy these recipes:
Mediterranean Chocolate Cake with Lemon and Olive Oil - One Perfect Bite
Biscotti Regina - One Perfect Bite
Pizzelles - One Perfect Bite