Torta Carrarina takes its name from the city of Carrara, in Tuscany, also known as the city of marble. This cake is made with rice, lots of eggs and milk and a small glass of Marsala or Rum or even Sambuca which is anise booze. No flour or yeast is needed.

Working the marble quarries around Carrara has always been a very dangerous and strenuous job – this simple tart with a rice base was a caloric but inexpensive meal to sustain the workers during their long days at the quarries.

Serves: 4 – baking tin 28×21| Preparation time: 20 mins | Cooking time: about 60 mins

  • White or brown sugar: 250 g
  • Short-grain white rice: 120 g
  • Milk, lukewarm: 500 ml
  • Rum or sweet Marsala wine or Sambuca, anise-flavored liqueur: 45 ml
  • (optional) Vanilla extract: 2 ml
  • Eggs: 7
  • Lemon zest: of 1 lemon
  • Butter, unsalted: to taste


Preheat the oven to 170°C / Gas Mark 3 / 338 F

Boil the rice in unsalted water for about 8-10 minutes, then drain it and place it in a bowl and leave it to cool down completely.

Use a knob of butter to lightly grease the inside of a baking tin with high edges. Put the rice inside the pan and use your fingers to press it down; make sure to cover the bottom of the pan with an even layer of rice, as the rice will form the basis of the cake.

Just warm it up the milk in a saucepan, add the lemon zest.

Beat up the eggs in a bowl, add sugar, Rum or Marsala or Sambuca (anise booze), the vanilla extract; mix thoroughly, then keep whisking as you slowly add the lukewarm milk.

Tip: be careful to add the milk only when it is lukewarm, otherwise if is too hot it will cook the eggs.

Delicately pour the mixture in the baking tin, on top of the rice.

Tip: Don’t worry if the mixture looks ‘too liquid’: that’s exactly the way it should look.

Bake 170°C /  Gas Mark 3 / 338 F  static oven for about 60 mins, depending on your oven. You will know when the cake is completely cooked because the top will solidify into a lightly coloured crust. You can also prick the cake with a toothpick: if it comes out dry, the cake is ready.

Allow for the cake to cool down, then serve.


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