Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
My sister-in-law, Kathy, first ate schiacciata at the Pensione Bencista in Fiesole, overlooking the Duomo while the wisteria was in bloom. She loved it so much she asked for the recipe; she still has it—written longhand in Italian by one of the pensione’s owners. This version of the Tuscan cake was baked in a rectangular pan for breakfast and left out uncovered all day for snacking tourists. The overall effect was satisfyingly dry and chewy.
Kathy was kind enough to share the recipe with me. The original yields a cake that is slightly dense but very fragrant—I really love the combination of the orange and lemon flavors. I made a lighter and moister version thanks to the substitution of sour cream for the non-fat plain yogurt; I also used whole wheat pastry and cake flours instead of the heavier whole wheat flour. And because I love the shape of bundt cakes, I decided to make the schiacciata in a round fluted cake pan.
- 1-1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1-1/2 cups cake flour
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-3/4 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
- powdered sugar for topping
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease or butter a 9 X 12 glass rectangular dish or a 9-1/2 inch fluted cake pan.
Step 2: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Set aside.
Step 3: Combine the sugar and lemon and orange zest in a stand mixer bowl and rub together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and smells like the lemon and orange.
Step 4: In bowl of a stand mixer, beat eggs on medium to low speed for 30 seconds, then add sugar-zest mixture, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix on medium speed until combined.
Step 5: Add oil slowly to the egg mixture and mix well (about 1 minute).
Step 6: Fold or gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed.
Step 7: Pour batter into a 9 X 12 greased glass pan or fluted cake pan and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. If using a glass pan, bake for 35 minutes. If using a fluted pan, bake for 50 minutes.
Step 8: Cool on rack. Sift powdered sugar on top and serve.