My first impressions of the panforte cake were its unusual texture. It is different than what we have been accustomed to when taking a bite out of a cake. Today, in the bakery scene everything is all about airy and soft texture, I really can’t think of a cake or pie which will resist a fork or spoon, well…this one does.
The panforte is one of these cakes, its texture is stiff, almost rubbery, the kind of density you would actually find in bread. This works really well with the meaning of the cake (“strong bread”) Pan means cake and forte is strong, and a strong cake it is.
This cake dates back to the 13th century in Siena Italy which is still considered to be the world’s capital of panforte cake.
This cake is a blend of strong flavors, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground black pepper, cinnamon, and in some recipes, you will actually find chili powder or chili flakes.
The variety of spices blends in a perfect harmony with the sweet ingredients which are honey, sugar and candied orange peels. In a magical way which I can never understand all these ingredients topped with cacao powder mix into a delicious cake.
Panforte should be fairly thin, remember this cake is pretty dense and you don’t want to fight your way thru the cake.
The variety of nuts in this recipe can be substituted for every kind of nuts you like or currently have in your pantry, totally up to you.
This cake can last a long time, I really mean it, remember its use in the old days, it used to perform as a trading commodity, and because there were no means of keeping the temperature down while travelling, the cake was wrapped with a cloth, and lasted a long time, some say months, I made a bunch and it lasted perfectly for 2 weeks at room temperature.