Unsalted butter for greasing baking sheet
All purpose flour for dusting baking sheet and work surface
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups corn flour or very finely ground cornmeal
2/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsps cream of tartar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp anise seed, or to taste
5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sweet white wine
2 eggs


Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Grease baking sheet with softened butter and dust with flour, shaking off the excess. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, corn flour, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, and aniseed. Add the melted butter, olive oil, milk and wine. Stir to mix well.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then set aside 1 teaspoon for glazing. Add the remaining egg to the flour mixture and stir ingredients together thoroughly. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough holds together in a compact mound, about 5 minutes.

Plunge both thumbs into the center of the mound and pull the dough into a thick ring about 8 inches in diameter. Center the doough ring on the prepared baking sheet and brush the top and sides with the reserved beaten egg.

Bake until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. (The flavor of the cake improves on the second or third day after baking. Tightly wrapped and refrigerated, it keeps for a week.) Cut into slices to serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.




1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon fine salt
3 large eggs at room temperature
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup Cointreau or other orange liqueur
1-1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil, plus more for oiling pans
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons anise seed
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup powdered sugar, for garnish
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, for garnish


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Oil a 10-inch round cake pan.

In a nonreactive saucepan, reduce the orange juice over medium heat to 1/4 cup. Add salt, stir, and let cool.

Lightly beat eggs on high for 1 minute until frothy. Add milk, sugar, Cointreau, olive oil, reduced orange juice, lemon zest, anise seed, and chopped rosemary. Mix for 1 minute until well-blended. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder until smooth.

Pour the mixture into the oiled cake pan. Bake for 1 hour.

Place on a rack to cool. Run a knife around the edges and flip over on a plate.

While the cake is still warm, use a sifter, fine sieve, or mesh colander to sprinkle powdered sugar lightly and evenly on the cake.

Garnish the cake with a rosemary sprig. Cut into wedges and serve.


Photography by lor3nzo