Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 20 to 23 minutes
Makes: One 9-inch round cake
Are summer weather, bright colors and flavors on your mind? Because lemons are all of the above, I thought of using them in this Lemon and Almond Cake that I grew up with in Southern Italy.
This cake is so rich with butter, lemon and almonds, that you should just omit the whipped cream garnish. All you need are freshly-sliced lemons, complementing the cake’s essence!
Prepare the pan –
-1 tablespoon butter & small amount of flour (to butter a spring form pan)
Make the cake –
-¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour (preferably organic)
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-Dash each salt and ground cinnamon (very little amounts)
-Zest of 2 small lemons, set it aside in a small bowl
-Juice of 2 small lemons, set aside in a small bowl
-5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into slices and softened at room temperature
-½ cup granulated sugar
-3 large eggs, separated (put yolks in a small bowl and whites in another bowl)
-½ cup ground raw, unsalted almonds
-Confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
-1 lemon, for slicing and cake garnish
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch spring form pan and place parchment paper circle at bottom of pan.
2. Cut 3-inch wide strips of parchment; line pan sides with parchment strips. Set aside.
3. Measure the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a small bowl; set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff; set aside.
5. In a 6-quart mixing bowl and using a hand mixer (or a stand mixer), beat together the butter, sugar and egg yolks until mixture is creamy.
6. With mixer set on low, stir in the ground almonds and mix until batter is uniform.
7. Stir in the zest and lemon juice; set the bowl with batter aside.
8. Using a spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.
9. When the batter is uniform, gently pour it into the prepared spring form pan.
10. Place the spring form pan with batter on a rack positioned in center of oven; bake cake for 20 minutes.
11. After 20 minutes, insert a pointed knife in center of cake. If the knife is clean, the cake is done. If there is batter stuck to the knife, bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes and test with knife once more.
12. Transfer the cake to a counter and slightly cool (about 10 minutes).
13. Loosen sides of spring form pan from cake with a spatula. Remove pan sides and parchment strips.
14. Invert the cake onto a serving platter; lift off the pan bottom and gently peel away the parchment paper.
15. Let cake cool to room temperature.
16. Gently and lightly sift the powdered sugar over cake. Garnish with lemon slices and serve.
Text and Photograph ©2013 Nancy DeLucia Real