Schiacciata alla Fiorentina is a far cry from the typical schiacciata you see on the streets of Florence. The name is a bit of a misnomer. Not a bread at all, but a seasonal dessert, unique to Florence, found only in the month leading up to Fat Tuesday. It is a sweet sponge cake flavored with a hint of orange peel and topped with a blizzard of powdered sugar in the center of which is a dark cocoa fleur de lys, the city’s official symbol. Many Florentines speak with great enthusiasm about this seasonal specialty, but if you didn’t grow up with it you might be hard pressed to understand why. Throughout January many of the city’s pastry shops post signs advertising their “specialty; Schiacciata alla Fiorentina.” Variations abound, some with lots of aromatic orange (good) some without (not so good,) but the best versions are split in half horizontally and filled with lightly sweetened whipped cream which counteracts what can too often be a dull dry cake. It might not be traditional, but it is an improvement.
Recommended: Giorgio Pasticceria is widely considered the best Schiacciata alla Fiorentina in Florence