Leave it to the Italians to figure out a way to turn stale, dry bread into a decadent, moist cake that's almost pudding-like.
- 300 g stale, crustless bread, torn into small pieces
- 400 ml milk
- 100 g coconut sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- 100 g (⅔ cup) plain flour
- 10 g baking powder
- 2 tbsp Dutch cocoa powder
- 150 g (1 cup) pitted fresh cherries
- 100 g dark chocolate, chopped
- fresh cherries, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a rectangular slice tin with baking paper (the size is up to you. If you are using a small one, the cake will be taller, if using a larger one, the cake will be flatter and the cooking time a little shorter).
2. Place the bread and milk in a large mixing bowl and mash up using your hands until it looks like a pulp. The more you reduce it into a pulp, the better the consistency of the cake. Add the sugar, olive oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk well. Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa and combine well. The batter will look runny and a little lumpy (because of the bread). Pour into the tin, add the pitted cherries on top (they will sink into the batter in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is puffed up and slightly cracked, but there is still a wobble in the middle. Remove from the oven and stand in the tin until cool. As it cools down and settles it will keep cooking a little.
3. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Cook until just melted, stirring occasionally. Pour the chocolate over the cooled cake, top with the extra cherries and enjoy!
Silvia Colloca shares her Italian family secrets in the brand-new series, Cook like an Italian.