Sbrisolona cake: a Mantuan majesty

The sbrisolona is definitely a famous recipe throughout the Italian territory. Its origins are poor and its recipe, initially very simple, has changed over the centuries until it has become the current one. It is typical of the city of Mantua, where it is possible to taste it practically everywhere, and it is characterized by an unforgettable and simple taste and texture. It’s quick to prepare at home and its simple recipe is easy to prepare even for the most inexperienced.



Sbrisolona is a cake that looks more like a crumble and is typical of the Mantuan culinary culture. It has poor origins but today is considered one of the most famous typical cakes in Italy. It is characterized by a buttery and neutral flavor, which is very reminiscent of short-crust pastry but in a crumbled version. It also contains corn flour, which gives it a stronger character, and fresh almonds, which make it more crispy and delicate, almost refined. The sbrisolona cake is perfect for breakfast as well as for tea time, or simply to be enjoyed at the end of a lunch or dinner.

Origins and history of the Sbrisolona

The name of the sbrisolona comes from the term “brise”, “crumbs”. The cake is in fact characterized by its appearance which is anything but compact, and more than a dessert it resembles, an Anglo-Saxon crumble. Its origins are very ancient and date back to the 16th century. The origins of the sbrisolona are of the rural type: in the 16th century lard was mixed with corn flour to obtain a sort of granulate that was the typical breakfast of the poorer families. Over time two simple ingredients were added, such as sugar and eggs. Subsequently, the recipe arrived at the court of the Gonzaga and only here was enriched by more expensive ingredients, such as almonds, reaching the final recipe of today.

Recipe for homemade Sbrisolona

To prepare the sbrisolona at home you will need:

  • 200g of 00 flour
  • 200g of corn-flour
  • 150g of brown sugar or cane sugar
  • 200g of ground almonds + some whole almonds
  • 200g of butter (lukewarm)
  • The peel of half a lemon
  • A vanilla pod (or vanillin essence)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • a pinch of salt

The recipe is very simple: just add all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. After that, you will have to add the butter cut into small pieces and start kneading with your hands until you get a crumble. Pour it into a pan lined with baking paper (or inside a cake pan) and bake in the oven at 180 degrees for 40 minutes, or until golden brown. The sbrisolona should only be eaten once cooled.

Where to eat the best Sbrisolona in Italy?

The best sbrisolona cake in Italy can obviously only be tasted in Mantua, its “hometown”. The sbrisolona is however a typical Italian product, and there are many restaurants and pastry shops that offer it in their menu in the rest of the country with excellent results. However, to taste the real sbrisolona we suggest, if you are in the areas of Mantua, to visit famous places like the famous Panificio Pavesi or, if you want to take a break and accompany the sbrisolona with a good tea or coffee, the Pasticceria Atena, a few minutes from Mantua and more precisely in the village of Sabbioneta.

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