Hazelnut Sbrisolona Cake with Chocolate Spread

Hazelnut Sbrisolona Cake with Chocolate Spread-in the plate, a slice cut

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5 from 7 reviews

‘Sbrisolona‘ is a typical crumble cake from Mantua, in the North of Italy. A humble recipe that peasants used to make with common local ingredients like corn flour, coarsely chopped hazelnuts, and lard. Today, it is usually made with a mix of corn and white flour, almonds or hazelnuts, and enriched with butter, sugar, eggs, and lemon zest.


  • 100 g toasted, chopped hazelnuts
  • 250 g 0 (or all-purpose) flour
  • 50 g cornmeal or corn flour (fine)
  • 130 g cane sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 150 g butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • the zest of 1 organic lemon
  • a pinch of salt
  • about 200 g chocolate spread (dark chocolate, chocolate hazelnut)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F (180° C). Take a springform cake pan (22-24cm), butter and flour it, or cover it with parchment paper.
  2. Roast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for 5 minutes or till just starting to color. Let cool, then roughly chop with a knife or pulse them in a food processor. Set aside.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients and add them to the emptied food processor. Pulse to combine.
  4. Add the softened butter and pulse until you get a pebble-like consistency.
  5. In a small bowl, stir together the egg with the lemon zest.
  6. Pour the flour/butter mixture in the big bowl, add the lightly beaten eggs and lemon zest, and stir with a spoon to combine.
  7. Then, pinch off nuggets of the dough, as if making a streusel.
  8. Cover the base of a 22 cm springform pan (a 24 cm is also good) with half of the dough, going a little up the edge, and press it gently.
  9. Soften the chocolate spread in the microwave or on a bain-marie (double boiler) as I did. Let cool slightly.
  10. Using a spoon, cover the base with the chocolate spread, leaving an empty border all around.
  11. Then, cover with the remaining crumbs, pressing just a little.
  12. Finish by sealing edges with a fork.
  13. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 35-45 minutes. When the Sbrisolona cake is golden brown, take it out of the oven and let cool on a rack.
  14. Unmold, slice, and serve.
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