Torta delle rose

A traditional dessert of the town of Mantua, Torta delle Rose (Rose Cake) was allegedly created for the wedding of Isabella d'Este, daughter to the Duke of Ferrara, and Francesco II Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, on February 12th, 1490. The rosebuds, made of puff pastry, were meant to be a tribute to the blossoming beauty of Isabella, who was sixteen at the time. Thanks to her intellectual and political skills, Isabella was soon going to become an enlightened patroness of the arts and a protagonist of the Italian Renaissance.
Take time to try the ancient recipe of this delicious Rose Cake: you will see that this cake hasn’t lost a bit of its unique flavour since it was first created, over 500 years ago!



Puff pastry
500 g of flour
100 g of sugar
80 g of butter
25 g of fresh yeast
2 whole eggs
1/2 cup of warm milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon of salt

100 g of butter
100 g of sugar
150 g of raisins


Pour the flour onto a wooden board, leaving a well in the center. Add the eggs and the salt. Melt the butter, making sure that it doesn’t boil. Grate the zest of a lemon. Dissolve the yeast in half a cup of warm milk and stir in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Pour all the ingredients into the flour and knead the dough for about 15 minutes. Let it stand in a bowl until it has doubled in volume. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: work the butter with the sugar until the mixture is smooth, then sprinkle it with raisins. Once the initial leavening has been completed, flour the board again and roll the dough out with a rolling-pin until you form a smooth rectangle, about 0.16-inch thick. Spread the filling over the dough, then roll it up, starting from the longer side and divide it into ten 2-inch thick slices. Lay them upright in a cake pan, lined with baking paper. Seal the slices on the bottom with dough, so that the filling does not ooze out. Wait for the "rosebuds"to stick together: this means that they have completed their leavening. Brush them with milk and bake them in a Bertazzoni oven for about 30 minutes at a 390 °F temperature. Sprinkle with icing sugar, before serving.