This cake is known as Struffoli in the Southern Italy, Cicerchiata in other regions. It’s often a Christmas cake or a Carnival cake.
It’s origin is lost into the Italian traditions but it’s still very popular.
For the dough:
450 gr. white flour 00
70 gr. sugar
1 egg yolks
2 tablespoons olive oil (as alternative even corn or other oil is ok)
2 cups (little cups as Italian espresso) of rhum
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of baking powder
a pinch of salt
For the syrup:
250 gr. honey
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
a pinch of cinnamon
With a kitchen aid or your hands mix all together the ingredients for the dough. It has to be soft but not sticky.
Grease your hands, take a piece of dough and roll it in a long and thin sausage. If the dough is too sticky sprinkle some flour on the working surface. Cut the sausage in little pieces as big as a green pea and fry them in vegetable oil. They will grow up a little while frying. Keep the oil temperature under control taking much care not to burn. Let them dry on absorbent paper.
Now let’s prepare the syrup.
Into a pot mix together honey, water, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon. Boil lightly for 5 minutes. When the syrup is ready put in the “peas” and with a wooden spoon mix everything very well.
Now choose the mould you like more: it could be shaped as a star, a Christmas tree, a flower or a simply donut. Gently press your warm peas into the mould and let it cool. When it’s cool wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest overnight. Doesn’t need refrigeration.
The day after unmould you cake on a serving plate and decorate it with candied fruits, nuts, dragees or non-pareils, everything your imagination suggest you.
To have an idea about decoration, on the web you’ll find many pictures about Struffoli aka Cicerchiata.
Hope you will love this traditional Italian cake.