Cake may be an exaggeration of terms for this recipe. The word “cake” in most people’s minds conjures up an item of soft, sweet food made from a mixture of flour, shortening, eggs, and sugar, baked, and often decorated. This “cake” is nothing like that.
This cake is more of a stroscia, a dessert typical of Pietrabruna in Italy’s Liguria region. The Italian word strosciare means “to break”, and this is a brittle cake that should be broken into pieces rather than sliced.
Eating this cake is a multi-sensual experience. Imagine… the fingers meet the sugar on the surface (touch); then, catch the sound of the dough breaking (hear), and the nose perceiving the light scent of the oil and caramel (smell). Eventually, the mouth appreciates the sweet flavor of this cake as the sugar grains crunch under the teeth (taste). And the finished cake has a delightful visual presentation, albeit untraditional to most “cakes” (sight).
The rosé wine used in making the cake and the cake soak is Whole Cluster Rosé of Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Vineyards. They have a beautiful property and hillside location in Turner, Oregon. Wines from this vineyard display complexity, elegance, and balance. We enjoy their Whole Cluster Pinot Noir paired with foods every day.
This recipe not only includes wine in the cake ingredients but also features a special orange-infused olive oil from Durant Vineyards. It’s a three-fer in this photo with Redhawk Tempranillo Dessert Wine from Redhawk Vineyard and Winery which was the perfect pairing to drink with and/or dunk the cake.
After making the cake, I became obsessed with finding the best wine to pair with it. I remember as a kid, sitting around the table after dinner when a cake like this was served the adults would drink coffee or wine with it and dunk the cake into their beverage. Sometimes this cake would even show up at breakfast! Oh those Italians like their cake in the morning.
So let’s get started!
Baked and ready to break apart and eat. I paired this cake with oranges since the cake has a hint of orange flavor from the orange-infused olive oil and orange zest. Wine pairing choices: the Whole Cluster Rosé which is a light, slightly effervescent rosé, or a full-bodied Tempranillo Dessert Wine. Both are equally good.
Stroscia Wine Cake
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil
- 1 cup rosé wine
- 2½ teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar for dusting the top
- zest from 1 medium-large orange divided
PREP: Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift together flour, sugar, and baking powder.
Add olive oil, wine, and half the orange zest.
Knead the dough until smooth-ish. Roll out to about 1" thickness.
Place flattened dough on baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar and remainder of the orange zest. Bake for 30-45 minutes. The longer it cooks, the crispier it gets.
Cool before breaking into pieces. Serve with oranges, wine, coffee, and/or Rosé Orange sauce.
Not satisfied with just wine to pair with this cake, I experimented with an orange sauce to pour over and soak the cake. That is a good alternative too! Oh so yummy!
Wine in the cake and wine to drink with the cake, or a wine sauce to pour on the cake, well, there’s just no going wrong with any of these options in my thinking.
Rosé and Orange Wine Sauce
- ⅔ cup Rosé wine
- ⅓ cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- zest from one orange divide in half
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 to 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
Combine sugar and butter in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Add wine, orange juice, and orange zest to the sugar mixture. Cook and stir for about 10-12 minutes.
Remove a few tablespoons of the sauce to a small bowl and whisk with the cornstarch. Pour into the pan with the rest of the sauce and continue stirring and cooking until sauce slightly thickens.) It will continue to thicken as it cools.)
Pour sauce over cake and serve warm or cold.
Option: Soak the cake in a large amount of sauce before serving.