Don't you just love vanilla? I do. Just the smell of vanilla can get my tastebuds tingling and never more so than when it is being baked into a lovel...
Wednesday, 19 March 2008
This wonderful cake arrived from Italy today. A gift from Carlotta who has a heart as big as the cake itself. I have never tasted any thing like it. Bready in texture but oh so light and rich and with the taste of Amaretto. I sliced it and had it with butter. Absolute heaven.
It is a lengthy procedure making this cake. It takes several steps over eighteen hours.
There is an old legend about this particular dessert. They say that when the King of the Longobards, Alboino, conquered the city of Pavia, he requested that all the gold and treasures of the city should be given to him together with 12 virgins. The poor girls were sent to the castle to await their fate and they were all crying in despair. All, except for one, who asked to be given some honey, flour and dried fruits as she wanted to bake a cake. With these ingredients, she prepared a dough and gave it the shape of a dove and asked her guardians to have it baked. When she was called to see Alboino, she carried the cake on a tray. The king was surprised and thought that the girl wanted to poison him, so he asked her to taste the cake first. The girl ate a piece and Alboino, seeing that she looked so confident, did the same. He found the cake delicious.... possibly he had not been eating cakes during his campaign... so, as a reward, he ordered his guards to free the clever girl. Nobody knows what happened to the other eleven.
The siege of the City of Pavia ended on the eve of Easter Sunday, hence the link between the cake and Easter celebrations.
The cake is traditionally enjoyed with a good dessert wine after dinner. Out with the Marsala on Sunday then.