It might be said that my brothers and I grew up on cake. It was our dessert of choice. And we made lots of it. We seldom made fancy cakes. Rather, we stuck with what we knew—which is to say, we made (and ate) lots of birthday cakes. Weekly. The only “fancy” cake I remember really wasn’t fancy at all. My mom still makes this cake, but only during part of the summer (like, right now) when we are over-flooded with black-caps. It’s a berry, crumbly sort of cake that is made with frightening frequency.

This parozzo, or chocolate cake from Abruzzo, is featured in Batali’s Molto Italiano. It is a cake unlike any cake I have had before. Composed largely of butter, flour, sugar, and eggs, this is one of the simpler desserts featured in the book. It also calls for a cup and a half of nuts, and has no leavening. Light, this cake is not.

Yet to call this cake incredibly dense would be unfair. It possess a certain lightness, perhaps because of the beaten egg whites folded in. Much of this cake’s beauty, however, is in its chocolate glaze. Now, I know very little about glazes. To me, a glaze means a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk that one drizzles over stollen. But now, I understand a glaze to mean two things: a mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk and bittersweet chocolate melted with unsalted butter. Thank you, Mario Batali. You rarely disappoint. This is my 53rd recipe from Molto Italiano. Percentage complete: 16.21%


  1. It was very good!!! even better than the berry, crumbly cake!!?!!!!! 🙂

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