If I was a baking superhero, my one terrible weakness would be my incapacity to bake delicious stuff when I don’t feel like cooking. When such a scene is in play, the viewer usually ends up with some sad hunk of dough, dry and hard, containing too much cardamom. (I usually refrain from the photo and put up with Bastien’s wrath of discontent as we munch woefully away.)
This cake arose out of exactly such a situation, but rather than the sorry excuse for a descent dessert that I usually end up with, we were delighted to sink our teeth into exactly the contrary: a light and airy golden delicious slice of a serious and simple cake; perfect counterpart to a little cup of Italian espresso.
Don’t hesitate to make this cake even if you don’t feel like cooking. You can’t go wrong as long as you know how to separate egg yolks from whites and zest a lemon. It took me 20 minutes to prepare the cake, plus 35-40 minutes of cooking. If you have to grind your own almonds, you might add another 10 minutes to your preparation time.
Recipe for Spanish Almond Cake:50 g slivered almonds 1 unwaxed organic lemon 170 g almond powder 4 eggs 170 g sugar 1 pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 160°C or 320°F.
Butter a cake pan and stick the almond slivers all over the inside of the pan, including up the sides.
Zest the lemon and slice very finely. In a small bowl, mix the almond powder and lemon zest.
Separate the egg yolks from the whites.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until the yolks become almost white in color. Add the almond powder and mix.
In a medium bowl, using a clean whisk, whisk the egg whites with the salt until medium peaks form.
Add half of the egg whites to the almond mixture, stirring just enough to mix. Add the rest of the egg whites to the almond mixture, again, stirring by hand just enough to mix. Your dough should be light and airy. Pour it into your cake pan and bake for 35-40 minutes until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.