Sbrisolona is a very simple cake made with almonds and cornflour, covered in whole almonds too. It is a cake typical of Mantua, a city located in Lombardy, in the North of Italy, althought is also made in Emilia-Romagna region.
Because it has a very crumbly texture, it will be almost impossible to cut an actual slice of it like a proper cake, it breaks apart, served in coarsely chopped pieces. That’s why the word sbrisolona actually comes from briciola, which is Italian for “crumble”.
Sbrisolona has a very long history: it dates back to the 17th century. It was initially considered to be a sweet for the poor table of peasants, yet soon became a fave food of the noble Gonzaga family that ruled Mantua from the 14th to the 18th century.
Serves: 6 – springform 20 – 22 cm| Preparation time: 30 mins | Cooking time: 40 to 50 mins
- 100 g milled Italian flour 00 or Plain Flour / All Purpose Flour
- 100 g corn flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 g skin almonds to grind + a few whole for decoration
- 100 g unsalted butter, cold
- grated lemon peel, 1
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 g caster sugar
- Icing sugar to taste for garnish
- a pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F / Gas 4.
Grind 90 g almonds with 90 g sugar in a mixer until you get an almond flour.
Tip: don’t grind them too long otherwise the almonds will release their oil.
Add the almond flour to the plain flour/AP and corn flour and mix together, add the vanilla extract, grated lemon peel, a pinch of salt and stir.
Add the egg yolk and the cold butter cut into small pieces and start crumbling with your hands to create a sandy mixture with coarse crumbs.
Mix together, place the mixture in a 20 or 22 cm springform.
Sprinkle with the rest of the sugar, add the whole almonds in and other ones on top.
Bake in a preheated static oven 180°C / 350 F / Gas 4 for about 40 mins or until the surface is golden brown.
Cover with aluminium foil if it becomes too brown.
Let it cool down at room temperature and sprinkle with some icing sugar before serving.