Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake

adapted from Mary Ann Esposito Ciao Italia

Equipment: 9-inch spring form pan, buttered, lined with buttered parchment paper and set aside.

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 3 large lemons, washed and left whole (Meyer lemons preferred)
  • 2 3/4 cups finely ground blanched or sliced almonds (The easiest way to measure the almonds is by weight. You will need 3/4 of a pound or 300 grams.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioner’s sugar

Glaze:

  • 1 cup or more of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiore di Sicilia extract (mix 1/2 orange extract and 1/2 vanilla extract)
  • a few drops of milk

Directions

Cake:

Place lemons in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook just under the boil for about 45 minutes. Drain and when cool, trim the ends, cut them in half widthwise and remove the seeds. Chop the lemons and place in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the sugar and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a fine mesh strainer set over and a bowl and strain the lemon mixture.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Divide blanched peeled almonds into three batches and whirl them in a food processor until they are powdered. Combine the batches and set them aside. (Or: buy fine almond flour at the supermarket!)

Beat the egg yolks and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until they are pale yellow and frothy looking, and then beat in the drained lemon mixture and the powdered almonds. Stir in the salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the whites into soft peaks. Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture and pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry. Be careful not to let the cake brown too much; it should be golden brown.

Cool slightly then release sides of the spring pan, remove the sides, and let the cake cool. Dust it with confectioner’s sugar or make a confectioner’s glaze with:

Glaze:

Mix all glaze ingredients until the glaze consistency forms then drizzle over cooled cake.