Torta de Mandorle
And here’s one for all of you almond lovers out there, of which I include myself. I will eat almonds however they are presented to me, but I actually think one of my favorites is a plain, raw, whole almond (or many of them) served with a small glass of sherry. Granted, I don’t indulge this very often, but if you’ve ever been to an English Bed and Breakfast, you’re likely to find a fresh bowl of raw almonds and a decanter of sherry magically appear in the late afternoon. It’s an addicting little afternoon snack , but I digress.
As an almond-aholic, it’s not unusual for me to collect recipes that feature almonds, but this Italian almond cake really did grab my attention. I came upon it in my Tastes of Italia magazine, and perhaps it was the inclusion of lemon in the cake, which I love paired with almond, that sealed the deal. There are always lots of almonds in my fridge and lemons on the sink, so we were definitely having Almond Cake for dessert!
I did have to make a few adjustments to the original recipe, though, the most significant being that they call for this to be baked in a 10” pan, which, with a baking time of 40 minutes, caused it to be a little over-cooked. So I recommend using a 9-inch pan, but have given you adjusted baking times for both a 9 or 10-inch baking pan.
But yes, in the end, this beautiful Italian cake was all I hoped it would be, and it aptly satisfied my almond cravings for awhile, but even if you aren’t enamored with all things almond, you might want to give this cake a spin anyway. It may just change your mind about that. Here's the recipe...
Italian Almond Cake
Recipe adapted from Tastes of Italia
4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 cup almonds, chopped and toasted
½ cup all purpose flour
¼ butter, softened
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons lemon zest, grated
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon almond extract
½ cup chopped, toasted almonds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl, beat together the sugars and the softened butter until creamy. Add the egg yolks, beating until well combined and almost foamy. Mix in the sour cream. Add the almonds, flour, baking powder and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice and vanilla until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the egg yolk mixture.
Spray a 9 or 10-inch cake pan or springform pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Pour in the batter and bake for 25 to 30 minutes for a 10-inch pan or 35 to 45 minutes for a 9-inch pan, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.
To make the frosting, combine the sugar, lemon juice and almond extract until smooth and creamy. Frost the top of the cake, letting it drizzle down the sides, and top with the chopped toasted almonds.