½ pound (250g) almond meal
6 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
Grated zest of 1 orange
Grated zest of 1 lemon
4 drops almond extract
Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for dusting
With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.
With clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).
Grease an 11-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, with butter and dust it with flour. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool before turning out.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Or, if you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper. Place it in the middle of the cake, and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, then remove the paper.
•Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to the egg yolk and almond mixture.
•Majorca has a similar almond cake called gató d’Ametla, which is flavored with the grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and sometimes a few drops of vanilla extract.
•In Navarre, the cake is covered with apricot jam.
The Food of Spain
by Claudia Roden