How to Make Torta Sbrisolona Cake: Italy’s Famous Crumble Cake (VIDEO)
Learn how to make Torta Sbrisolona cake, a classic Italian crumble cake recipe from Northern Italy. This easy, homemade dessert is perfect for any occasion.
You’re probably familiar with crumble cakes or crisps, those buttery topped fruit concoctions popular in England and America. But have you heard of torta sbrisolona? This Italian crumble cake hails from Northern Italy, specifically the Mantua city. Unlike its cousins across the pond, torta sbrisolona gets its irresistible crunchy, crumbly texture not from a streusel topping but from a generous amount of ground almonds and flour in the cake batter itself.
What Is Torta Sbrisolona? An Introduction to Italy’s Famous Crumble Cake
Torta Sbrisolona is a famous Italian crumble cake originating from Mantua, Italy. This buttery almond cake gets its name from “sbriciolare”, meaning “to crumble” in Italian, because its texture resembles crisp breadcrumbs. To make Torta Sbrisolona, you’ll need simple ingredients: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and almonds.
Torta Sbrisolona may not look like much, but don’t let its humble appearance fool you. Beneath the powdered sugar dusting lies a melt-in-your-mouth almond cake that’s crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. Once you taste it, you’ll understand why this traditional sweet treat is a prized delicacy of Mantua.
Traditional Sbrisolona Cake Ingredients
This section contains the list of ingredients you will need. See the recipe card for complete quantity information.
- Almonds with peel
- White granulated sugar
- Flour 00 or all-purpose flour
- Corn flour – You can use any corn flour, even if the original recipe calls for the use of Fioretto corn flour
- Lemon, organic
- Egg yolk
- Baking powder
How to Make Classic Torta Sbrisolona Cake
To prepare the Sbrisolona, start by grinding the almonds and sugar together. You can use a powerful mixer or an electric coffee grinder for this step. Be careful not to overdo it, as the almonds can release their oil and turn into a paste. It’s best to pulse the mixture in short bursts to avoid heating it up.
Next, combine the almond flour with the wheat and corn flours. Add in the salt, baking powder, and grated lemon zest. Incorporate the egg yolk and very cold butter, which should be cut into cubes, into the dry mixture. The resulting dough will have a crumbly texture rather than being compact.
Take a round springform pan with a diameter of 22 or 24 cm (9-inch) and line it with a sheet of parchment paper. Place the Sbrisolona dough on the sheet and use your hands to flatten it, creating a uniform base that covers the entire pan. Sprinkle the surface of the dough with 7 or 8 whole almonds and 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
Sbrisolona cooking. Preheat the oven to 180 °C (355 °F) and bake the sbrisolona for 20 minutes. Then, reduce the temperature to 160 °C (320 °F) and continue baking for another 15 minutes. Once done, remove the sbrisolona from the oven and allow it to cool. Then, take it out of the pan and serve by breaking it into pieces with your hands.
Sbrisolona Video Recipe
Tips and Variations for Easy Sbrisolona Cake
To make some variations to this delicious crumble cake, you can:
- Use whatever dried fruits you like! Apricots, raisins, cherries, cranberries – the possibilities are endless. Mix and match for extra flavor.
- Add spices to boost the flavor. Cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon zest are all great options. Just 1/2 teaspoon of each will do the trick.
- For extra decadence, sprinkle some chocolate chips or chunks into the batter. No one will complain about chocolate surprises!
- Make mini sbrisolonas in a muffin tin for portion control. Bake at 180 °C (355 °F) for about 25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
- Replace some of the flour with almond meal or ground hazelnuts for extra nutty flavor.
- Add a drizzle of honey, zabaglione or vin santo wine sauce over the top for an elegant finish.
With so many possible add-ins and toppings, you can create a sbrisolona that’s uniquely your own. Now grab your apron and preheat the oven – your kitchen is about to smell amazing!
How To Store Sbrisolona Cake
To keep your Sbrisolona cake fresh and crumbly, proper storage is key.
Keep it covered
Once cooled, wrap the entire cake tightly in plastic wrap, foil, or place in an airtight container like a cake carrier. This will prevent the cake from drying out and keep crumbs from falling off.
Avoid the fridge
Sbrisolona cake will last 2-3 days at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as this can cause the cake to become soggy. The cake is best served at room temperature.
If there are any leftovers after a few days, it is best to discard the cake. For food safety, do not keep the cake for longer than 3-4 days.
Use a cake dome or covered plate
For the perfect presentation, place the wrapped cake on a decorative cake stand or platter and cover with a cake dome. This keeps dust and debris off the cake while still allowing it to stay at room temperature. Just remove the cover when ready to serve!
Sbrisolona Cake Wine Pairing
A slice of Sbrisolona cake pairs perfectly with a glass of sweet wine. Two classic Italian options are Vin Santo and Moscato d’Asti.
Vin Santo is a amber-colored dessert wine from Tuscany made from dried white grapes like Trebbiano and Malvasia. It has intense flavors of apricot, orange peel and honey that complement the almond and citrus notes in the sbrisolona. Pour a small glass and sip slowly, enjoying each bite of the crumbly cake.
Moscato d’Asti is a frizzante wine from Piedmont, lightly sparkling with vibrant stone fruit and floral aromas. Its delicate sweetness and fizz provide a bright contrast to the rich buttery crust and candied fruit in the sbrisolona. Moscato d’Asti is lower in alcohol, around 5-6% ABV, so you can enjoy a larger glass without overpowering the cake.
Other options include Brachetto d’Acqui, a lightly fizzy red wine with strawberry and rose notes, or Passito di Pantelleria, an amber-hued wine from Sicily redolent of apricot and fig. Whatever you choose, a sweet wine is the perfect partner to savor each crumbly, delicious bite of Torta Sbrisolona.
And there you have it, your very own homemade torta sbrisolona. After putting in the work to gather ingredients from the local market, kneading the dough, and patiently waiting as the sweet, nutty aroma fills your kitchen, you can finally enjoy the fruits of your labor. As you take your first bite of this crumbly yet sturdy cake, close your eyes. You may just transport yourself to the Italian countryside, joining friends and family at the table passing around freshly brewed espresso and laughing the afternoon away. Making torta sbrisolona is more than following a recipe – it’s an experience that connects us to history, culture, and most importantly, one another. Now get out there and share your creation with people you care about. Buon appetito!
How to Make Torta Sbrisolona Cake: Italy’s Famous Crumble Cake (VIDEO)
- 1 springform pan – diameter cm 22-24 (9-inch)
- 100 g Almonds with peel (3/4 cup)
- 100 g White granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
- 100 g Flour 00 (3/4 cup)
- 100 g Corn flour (1/2 cup)
- 1 Organic lemon grated zest
- 1 Egg yolk
- 100 g Butter (1/2 cup) very cold
- A pinch of Salt
- 1 teaspoon Baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (355 °F) and your springform pan with parchment paper.
- Grind the almonds with the sugar, using a powerful mixer or an electric coffee grinder. You must not chop for long, or the almonds will release their oil and form a paste; the ideal is to proceed in small strokes, so as not to heat the preparation.
- Mix the almond flour with the wheat and corn flours.
- Add the salt, baking powder and grated lemon zest.
- Mix this mixture with the egg yolk and the very cold butter, cut into cubes. The dough will not be compact but “crumbled”.
- Add the sbrisolona dough into the cake pan and flatten with your hands until you create a homogeneous base, which covers the entire mold.
- Sprinkle the surface with 7 or 8 whole almonds and 1-2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
- Cook at 180 °C (355 °F) in static mode for 20 minutes, then continue cooking for another 15 minutes, but lowering the temperature to 160 °C (320 °F).
- Remove from the oven, let cool, then remove them from the pans and serve, breaking it with your hands.