Tomorrow is Mardi Gras or Carnevale as we call it in Italy. Carnevale is a big event in Italy – kids even stay home from school! Everyone dresses up for almost a week and goes on parades with all kinds of floats.
There are many famous Carnevali in Italy, like the ones of Venice, Ivrea, Cento, Viareggio, Putignano. However, every little town in Italy celebrates Carnevale. It’s a little bit like “Halloween”… when kids tell jokes, make pranks and throw coriandoli (coloured paper confetti) all around. And, of course there’s plenty of delicious food. During this time of the year we eat lots of sweets and fried food, because Carnevale comes right before the period of Lent during which Catholics usually fast (or eat less).
I have already shared with you the recipes for Carnevale treats like Chiacchiere, Tortelli di Carnevale, Meat filled Apulian Panzerotti, Ravioli Dolci, Bomboloni, Migliaccio, and Tagliatelle Dolci di Carnevale. Today I am back with another quintessential Carnevale recipe: Schiacciata alla Fiorentina.
This cake is typical of the city of Florence and it is usually eaten for Mardi Gras. It is a very simple cake, made from local ingredients. In the past, it used to be made with brewer’s yeast, double proofing, and the addition of lard, but nowadays people make a much faster (and lighter) version of this traditional cake, which is what I will share with you today. This cake is amazingly soft and its characteristic yellowish colour is given by the orange juice and zest that are used in the batter.
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is usually decorated with icing sugar and a cocoa powder Florentine Lily – the symbol of Florence.
Don’t forget to check out the video recipe, just before the recipe card!
Happy Mardi Gras everyone!
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
- 200 gms – 1 ½ cup + 1 tbsp plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 130 gms – 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 50 ml – 3 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 50 ml – 3 ½ tbsp milk or soy milk
- Juice and zest grated of 1 orange
- 16 gms – 4 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Icing sugar and cocoa powder to decorate
Beat together the eggs and sugar, until fluffy and pale.
Add the milk, extra virgin olive oil, vanilla extract, and orange juice and keep whisking.
Fold in the flour, baking powder, salt, and orange zest and mix to incorporate.
Pour the batter into a 20x26cm (8x10 inch) baking dish lined with baking paper.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C – 355°F for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
Let the schiacciata cool down completely, then dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder.
Slice, serve and enjoy.
I made a template of the Florentine Lily by printing one from the web and cutting it out. Very easy. The Florentine Lily (which in reality is more of a stylised iris) is the symbol of Florence.