Lately, in my "summer is
During the winter, in the mornings, I usually swing between oatmeal/cereal or eggs.
In other words, I'm pretty American when it comes to my first meal of the day.
Domenico, however, is pure Italian. There’s nothing he likes better than a handful of cookies he can dip into his caffelatte while he reads the paper. Yes. Italians eat cookies for breakfast. While in the States you have entire supermarket aisles dedicated to cereal, in Italy you can walk down breakfast cookie lane.
While these packaged biscuits are a relatively modern development, having a slice of cake in the morning is something that is more rustic and traditional. In fact, when Domenico and I first started dating in Florence, I am pretty sure he ended up marrying me because I served him a corn flour breakfast cake, amor polenta, for breakfast.
But back to real life, 20 years on, when both Domenico and I are trying (at least in the morning) to cut back on the cookies and cakes.
At least at home.
Put us in a hotel and all our good intentions fly out the window.
A couple of weekends ago, at the bed and breakfast we stayed in in Tuscany, the signora, Fulvia, made us a fresh cake for breakfast each morning. And while I realize that I can’t have cake for breakfast every morning, every once in a while it is kinda nice. Especially these cakes.
Although one was chocolate, neither was overly sweet, or rich. They were just the right balance of moist to dry, and so went perfectly with a cup of coffee (or two). I even went wild, and topped my slice of ciambella with a spoonful of homemade apricot preserves.
Although if I’m not going to be making these cakes a part of my morning routine, I did love the idea of waking up on vacation to a sweet start. So I’ll be making these for my house guests this summer in Todi, since, well, they’re on vacation, right?
And if a slice or two works itself over to my plate of fruit too, who's to know?
300 grams sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300 grams flour
300 grams fresh cream
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180C/ 350F
Butter a ring pan, and coat with bread crumbs
Mix eggs and sugar until light yellow and fluffy.
Mix baking powder and salt into flour.
Add flour and cream to egg/sugar mixure, alternating, until mixed.
Do not over mix.
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 40 minutes.
Torta al Ciccolato
200 Grams sugar
50 grams butter
50 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup milk
100 grams sifted 00 flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 180C/350F
Butter and line a cake pan with parchment paper
Mix sugar and egg. Add softened butter and mix.
Add cocoa, yogurt and milk, and mix.
Mix baking soda, salt and flour, and add to the mixture.
Do not over stir.
Pour batter into pan, and bake for 30 minutes.
When cool, top with powdered sugar.
Although the Fulvia didn’t serve us Amor Polenta, I thought I’d include it here, since I love it. And I'm pretty sure that's what made Domenico love me.
100 gr butter
100 grams finely ground corn flour (I use Mulino Marino's polenta, half Fine and half Grusera)
100 grams 00 flour
50 grams ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
120 grams sugar
Heat oven to 180C/350F
Butter pan. Traditionally this cake is made with a special Amor Polenta pan, but you can just use a loaf pan.
Beat softened butter, eggs and sugar until well mixed.
Add the two flours, vanilla, almonds and mix for a few minutes.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes.
When it’s cool, take it out of the pan and dust with powdered sugar.