Schiacciata means ‘squashed’ or ‘flattened’ in Italian and usually refers to the savory, salty and olive oil drenched flat bread found in Tuscany. However, at Carnival time, it means this sweet and strictly seasonal Florentine favorite. It has long been a tradition of Carnival season. This recipe was given to me by Marco, our winemaker at Podere Erica.
Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 medium orange, juiced and zested
1 teas. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 1/2 TB baking powder
Powdered sugar and cocoa powder, as garnish
Preheat oven to 350°
Butter bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish; set aside.
In a mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until well blended. Add oil, milk, orange juice & peel and vanilla. Beat until blended. Gradually add flour mixed with the baking powder and beat until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool in pan on a wire rack.
When the cake is completely cool, invert it onto a platter and dust the top with powdered sugar. In Florence they always add their beloved giglio to the top of the cake by placing a stencil of the giglio on top and dust with cocoa powder or if you want everyone to get a taste of the cocoa, dust entire top with cocoa powder, place a cut out of a giglio in the center and dust the cake with powdered sugar.
You can also slice the cake in half lengthwise using a long serrated knife and spread on a layer of desired filling – sweetened whipped cream, pastry cream or Chantilly. Carefully replace the top layer and dust with powdered sugar.