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Schiacciata alla Fiorentina
Florentine Carnival Cake

(Makes one 9 x 12-inch cake)
Schiacciata alla Florentina - Florentine Carnival Cake
Schiacciata alla Florentina - Florentine Carnival Cake
This easy-to-make cake, with the wonderful scents of orange and vanilla, appears in pastry shops throughout Florence in late winter during the carnival season.  Schiacciata is instantly recognizable for the "giglio," a stylized fleur-de-lis and the symbol of the city of Florence, dusted over the top in contrasting cocoa powder. It is a fairly thin cake and is traditionally served plain with a cup of coffee.  However, some pastry shops will occasionally cut the schiacciata through the middle, filling it with whipped cream or custard.  Traditionally the cake is made with lard, but butter is a fine substitute. 

3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
Juice of one orange (about 1/4 cup)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 9 x 12-inch baking pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, orange zest and juice, vanilla, olive oil, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt.  Using an electric mixer, beat the mixture for 3-4 minutes until creamy and smooth.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then invert onto the wire rack to remove and cool completely.  Sprinkle the top with a generous dusting of confectioners' sugar.  Cut into squares to serve.
If you are adding the fleur de lis, carefully place the stencil on top of the cake after dusting with the confectioners' sugar.  Sift some cocoa powder through a small sieve over the stencil until the design is completely filled in. Carefully lift the stencil straight up and remove to reveal the fleur di lis. 
Fleur-de-Lis Stencil Design
Save and enlarge the fleur-de-lis to your desired size.  Print and cut out the design to create the stencil
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