Almonds are one of my favorite nuts. I snack on them throughout the day. In Spain, Marcona Almonds are a staple and are known as the “Queen of the Almonds”. They are slightly softer in texture and sweeter in flavor than other almonds and are often packed in oil.
This cake is very different from American cake desserts. It is light because of the olive oil, yet dense and somewhat dry. It falls into the classic European dessert style which is not very sweet yet quite flavorful because of the Marcona Almonds and citrus. This cake is inspired from the Andalusian cuisine. It is a great desert to serve with the right wine or if you prefer a great cup of coffee.
We are presenting two versions of this cake in this wine and food pairing for the month.
Citrus Olive Oil Cake with Almonds
1.5 cups of all-purpose ﬂour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c sugar sweet/sour
3 large eggs
2 tsp orange zest
2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 c whole milk
3/4 c extra virgin olive oil
2/3 c Marcona almonds, toasted and ﬁnely chopped
Powdered sugar for sifting over the ﬁnished cake, OR Limondello Drizzle
Preparation Preheat oven to 340 degrees. Lightly oil an 8-inch diameter spring form pan. Butter the bottom of the cake pan and cut an 8-inch diameter piece of baking parchment to ﬁt. Put parchment in the pan and press down.
Blend ﬂour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.
Using an electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs and zests until pale and ﬂuffy.
Beat in milk, then gradually beat in oil. Add the ﬂour mixture and stir just until blended, then stir in the chopped almonds.
Transfer batter to pan and place on a baking sheet. Bake until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cakes comes out with moist crumbs attached. Bake 28 minutes, check with tester. Bake for an additional minute or two if cake is not done. Cake should be ﬁrm to the touch and not “springy” like an American traditional cake.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan and place on a serving plate bottom side up to remove the parchment then put another plate over the cake and ﬂip so cake will be right-side up.
Dust with powdered sugar, or drizzle with Limoncello using a fork dipped in the icing and quickly moving back and forth across the cake “drizzle” the icing.
The difference between Limoncello and powdered sugar may seem like a small part of the recipe, but they really alter the wine choice which you can find in this month’s Spanish 4-Course Dinner.