While it may only be August, winter is quickly approaching and we have some planning to do. This holiday, bring your family a taste of the old world with this Bertazzoni family recipe: Torta Sbrisolona, or crumble cake!

At Christmas time in Italy, there is a Sbrisolona on every table, bringing luck to the entire family.  The name comes from the dialect of Mantova and means “sbriciolare” “to crumble,” because of the very crumbly consistency of the cake.

This recipe originated around 1600 in the grand Gonzaga court of the Duchy of Mantova, and soon became popular throughout the more modest houses of the Po Valley. It is said that walnuts, which are more typical of the area, were originally used instead of almonds, but  as walnuts were meant to be the “fruits of the witches,” while almonds have luckier significance, meaning “light” and “rebirth,” there was a change of ingredient!

Here is the recipe of Torta Sbrisolona for you to share with your family this holiday season or any time of the year!

Torta Sbrisolona



250 gm (9 oz) white flour

150 gm (5,3 oz) corn flour

200 gm (7 oz) sugar

200 gm (7 oz) unsalted butter

200 gm (7oz) almonds

2 eggs

1 lemon Vanilla extract


Keep aside a spoons or two of the sugar, to be sprinkled on the cake when it is cooked.  Keep aside a handful of whole almonds – 7 or 8 whole for the decoration and the others for the mixture. Coarsely grind the rest of the almonds. Put them a in bowl together with the white flour and corn flour, the sugar, the soft butter in pieces (take it out of the fridge 30 mins before), 2 egg yolks, the vanilla and grated lemon peel. Mix it all quickly using your hands until the yolks and butter are well integrated. The mixture should be very airy and ‘sandy.’ Taking care not to compress it, put the mixture by hand into a buttered spring form cake pan (25 cm diameter). Decorate with whole almonds. Bake in a Bertazzoni oven at 170°C for 35-40 minutes


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