Flourless Almond Cake
Bizcocho de Almendra sin Harina
Sister Ángela has been making this cake at the Convento de la Purísima Concepción in Peñaranda de Duero, near Burgos, for 47 years. The recipe may not read as anything out of the ordinary, but it is so full of almonds that each mouthful of cake is a milky-sweet taste-bomb. Sister Ángela advises damp almonds, blanched lemon zest and greasing the pan with lard for moistness and flavor. It also helps that in Peñaranda they bake in a wood-oven.
Servings: Makes one 13 inch cake
Prep Time: 40 min.[PT40M]
Cook Time: 40 min.[PT40M]
9 oz almonds, skins on
Skin the almonds the day before you make the cake: blanch them till the skin loosens, transfer them to a bowl of cold water to cool and slip off the skins. Leave the almonds soaking overnight in cold water and the next day dry them well with a cloth--but do not dry them out in the oven or sun. Blanch the zest. Grind the almonds in a food processor or an old-fashioned hand mincer, adding the zest as you go. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a shallow spring-release or plain cake pan (around 13 inches diameter and 3 inches deep) with lard and dust it with flour. Separate the yolks from the whites. Beat together the yolks, sugar and ground almonds in a food processor. Whisk the egg whites to dry peaks, fold them into the cake mixture and pour into the prepared pan. Put into the oven, turn down the heat to 300 degrees F and bake for half an hour or until a fine skewer stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean. Turn onto a rack and leave to cool. The nuns pipe flowers over the cool cakes using a frosting of beaten egg white and extra fine sugar and a fine piping nozzle.
Selected by Vicky Hayward
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