Torta pesata is an iconic cake for the Bartolozzi family, that tastes of home and tradition.
It is a kind of sponge cake where the eggs, flour and sugar are weighed in equal quantities. It is from this characteristic that the recipe, handed down form generation to generation here in Poggio al Bosco, derives its name (“weighed cake”).
On birthdays and festivities, Great-Grandma Zelina always prepared torta pesata for her husband Giovanni and their five children: Primo, Mario, Mariuccia, Vittoria and Giovanna. At that time, in fact, cake was not often eaten, but only on special occasions.
While she was heating the oven to make the bread (find out more here), Zelina prepared the dough for torta pesata. She weighed the eggs and then added flour and sugar in the same quantity. Finally, she put a pinch of baking powder and distribute the dough into three or four baking tins, which, once the bread was ready, were baked.
Grandma Maria continued to bake torta pesata, following the Great-Grandma Zelina’s procedure. For Grandpa Primo, it was the best cake in the world, because it reminded him of his childhood, and for Easter he could never miss it: he didn’t care about any particular dessert, he would just eat a piece of torta pesata.
More recently, the family has developed the habit of enriching this cake, which in itself is very simple. Once it is ready, Mum Donatella opens it and fills it with custard and alchermes, a sweet liqueur with an unmistakable red colour that is very popular in Tuscany.
The recipe of torta pesata
Grandma Maria and Mum Donatella are dictating this recipe, which is very easy and quick to make. It only needs five ingredients and is prepared in a few minutes, but the result is guaranteed: it is of a unique genuineness!
- 6 eggs
- 00 flour
- a sachet of baking powder
- lemon or orange peel.
We start by weighing 6 eggs – which we obviously get from our chicken coop in front of the house – and beat them with a whisk in a large bowl.
Then we add the sugar and flour, both of the same weight as the eggs, and finally the baking powder.
The final touch that gives an extra kick to the flavour is the lemon or orange zest: here we generally use lemon, as we have several plants of it in the garden and we are sure it is fresh and organic.
After mixing the mixture well, we pour it into a buttered and floured mould and bake it in the preheated oven at 180° for forty minutes. To make sure it is cooked properly, Mum Donatella sticks a toothpick in the centre and, if it is dry, the cake is ready.
The result will be a very high and soft cake, perfect to dunk in milk for breakfast or for a snack with jam spread on top.
If you – like Grandpa Primo – enjoy it at the end of a meal, we recommend pairing it with a small glass of Vin Santo del Chianti DOC Riserva, our sweet, amber-coloured, harmonious and velvety passito with intense notes of dried fruit. By dipping it in Vin Santo, torta pesata will be even softer and more delicious!