Grandma’s cake is a classic Tuscan dessert.

A crumbly shell of shortcrust pastry, studded with pine nuts, which encloses a soft filling of custard and a generous shower of icing sugar on top.

According to a story, it was born from the imagination of a Florentine cook. He was challenged by his guests to create a new dessert with just a few ingredients.

This is how this successful dessert was born, with a few simple ingredients but delicious.

What sets it apart from a simple custard tart is the rim, which must be at least 1.5 inches tall, and the top layer of shortcrust pastry.

Few but tasty ingredients that in their simplicity must be carried out following simple rules to obtain a GRANDMA’S CAKE worthy of the best Italian pastry.

A perfect cake for a snack, for a breakfast full of energy or even as a dessert at the end of a meal.

There is also the grandfather’s cake with chocolate custard instead of the classic one and with hazelnuts or almonds instead of pine nuts.

Video recipe of the day

  • DifficultyEasy
  • CostVery cheap
  • Preparation time30 Minutes
  • Cooking time50 Minutes
  • Serving8/10
  • CuisineItalian


For the shortcrust pastry (10 inch PAN)

3.5 cups cake flour (about 450 g)
7 ounces unsalted butter (about 200 g)
2/3 cup sugar (about 160 g)
1 pinch salt
2 egg (medium size)
1 lemon zest (Untreated lemon )
1/2 teaspoon baking powder for sweets (about 7 g)

For the custard

3 cups milk, cow, whole (fresh whole milk about 750 ml)
11/4 cup granulated sugar (1 ¼ cups about 225 g)
2 tablespoons cornstarch (about 35 g )
3 egg
1 yolk
2 tablespoons cake flour (about 30 g)
vanilla extract (1 tbs or the seeds of a berry)

To complete

3 tablespoons pine nut (about 80 g)
q.s. icing sugar




Put cold butter from the fridge into pieces and flour in the bowl of a food processor.

Operate the blades until a sandy mixture is obtained. Transfer the mixture to a bowl or on a pastry board, make a hole in the center and pour in the sugar, eggs and lemon zest.


Work with your hands for the time necessary to make the dough compact, without overheating.

Form a loaf, flatten slightly and transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes covered with cling film.


Pour milk into a saucepan and add vanilla extract or berry seeds.

Bring to a light boil.


In a bowl, break the eggs and add the yolk.

Add sugar and mix.

Separately, sift the flour and cornstarch, then add to the eggs.

When the milk is about to boil, remove the saucepan from the heat and pour a little milk into the egg and flour mixture.

Mix well then put the saucepan with the rest of the milk back on the heat and pour in all the mixture with the eggs.

Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly to avoid the formation of lumps.

The cream is ready when it thickens and if you dip a spoon it remains veiled.

Transfer the cream to a bowl and cover with cling film in contact with the surface to avoid the formation of the skin.

Leave to cool to room temperature.


Remove the shortcrust pastry from the fridge and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out with a rolling pin to a thickness of 1/5 inch (about 0.5 cm).

Cut out two circles, one of which is slightly larger.

With the larger disc, line the bottom and edges of a greased and floured mold.


Prick the bottom of the cake with fork tines.

Pour cold custard inside.

Level the surface of the cream with a spoon.


Cover the cake with another disc of shortcrust pastry. Close the edges well and remove excess shortcrust pastry. Prick the surface of the grandmother’s cake with a fork.

Distribute pine nuts on the surface.


Bake the cake in a static oven at 320 F for 50 minutes by placing it on the lowest shelf.

After this time, raise oven temperature to 356 F and move cake to center shelf.

Cook for another 10 minutes.

The grandmother’s cake is cooked when it is golden on the surface and the pine nuts are a little toasted.


Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 4 hours at room temperature before removing from the mold.

You only need to unmold when it is completely cold.

Sprinkle the surface with icing sugar and serve.


If it is not too hot, the grandmother’s cake can be kept for 2/3 days at room temperature. In any case, it would be better to keep it in the fridge but it must be borne in mind that in this case the cream will lose some of its softness.

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