Bologna, where I live is best know for its egg pasta and its many salt cured pork specialities, but when Paul asked me to kick off his new recipe posts with something local I thought I’d do something that most people will be able to make at home – not everyone has a pasta machine but everyone has an oven, and the ingredients for this ultra-delicious chocolate and almond cake are easy to find. And yes, it’s gluten free!
This verrrrrry rich low rise cake – don’t even think about the calorie count, OK? – is called Torta Barozzi or Barozzi Cake.
It was invented in 1907 by Eugenio Gollini, and dedicated to the architect Jacopo Barozzi (1507-1573), who is known as “Il Vignola”.
The recipe remained secret for many years, but the original is still served and sold at the Pasticceria Gollini under the Portico of Via Garibaldi in Vignola, near Modena, in the traditional rectangular packaging.
Yes, all this chocolate goes in!
Modena lies 39 kilometres west of Bologna and in the town of Ferrara, 44 kilometres to Bologna’s north, they make a very similar but not identical sweet which is called “La Tenerina” or “the little tender one”.
The two cakes look very similar but taste a little different as the Tenerina has a little flour in it and no almonds. The Ferrara cake is better known and more popular in Bologna, perhaps because of an old rivalry between Modena and Bologna over who exactly first invented Tortellini!
I prefer the Torta Barozzi so that is the recipe I am sharing with you today. Make it – you can, it’s pretty straightforward!
I whisked everything by hand because my best baker friend says that’s best but you can use an electric hand whisk as we always do on my cooking classes!