Torta di Rose

For you and your beloved  on Valentines day, Stefano Manfredi shares a traditional  Italian  yeasted rose cake recipe from Brescia, his original homeland.


For the Dough

500g plain or 00 flour
150g milk
Half tsp vanilla essence
6g powdered yeast
Grated rind of a lemon
80g caster sugar
25g extra virgin olive oil
3 whole eggs
Pinch salt

For the Filling

130g unsalted butter, softened
90g caster sugar

To Serve

Icing sugar


Make the dough by placing all ingredients (except the salt) in the mixing bowl of a bench mixer with a hook attachment. Mix at low speed for 6 minutes, add salt, and keep mixing for 4 minutes more until the dough is smooth. Remove from the bowl, form into a large ball and place in a stainless steel or ceramic bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let sit on the kitchen bench for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling by using the whisk attachment on the bench mixer and whisk the sugar and butter together till fluffy, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the torta, butter and flour a 28cm cake tin. Cut a piece of baking paper (usually 30cm wide on the roll) to a length of 50cm. Lay it out on the kitchen bench. Tip out the dough in the middle of the baking paper and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough to cover the baking paper. Using a spatula, spread the butter/sugar mixture in a thin, even layer on top. Roll the nearest long side of the dough into a sausage to the centre of the rectangle. You can use the baking paper underneath to help roll. Now turn the rectangle so the unrolled side is nearest to you. Repeat and roll as per the other half, meeting the first roll in the middle. Using a sharp knife, separate the two long rolls by cutting the dough between them. Cut each of the two rolls into 8cm pieces. Take each piece and seal one of the open ends by pinching so the filling doesn’t seep out when it cooks. Place each piece, open side up, into the buttered and floured cake tin, starting around the outer sides and working in. There should be 2cm between each “rose” as they will grow as they prove and cook. Once all the roses have been placed in the cake tin, cover with a clean tea towel and let prove for an hour in summer and up to 2 hours in winter. It’s ready to cook when the roses have all merged together so no space is left between them.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Place the cake tin on a tray and bake for 30-35 minutes. Let it cool completely before dusting with icing sugar and serving.