Spanish Almond Cake, or Tarta de Santiago is a simple combination of eggs, sugar, almond flour and lemon all baked into a moist delicious cake. The key to its success is the quality of the ingredients and letting the eggs come to room temperature. It is naturally gluten and dairy free, which is a bonus! It is great all by itself or serve it with fruit and whipped cream.
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
Zest of 2 small lemons (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (I use Diamond Crystal)
5 eggs, room temperature and separated
2 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup sliced almond
2 tablespoons sanding sugar* (or regular granulated sugar)
*sanding sugar is clear granules that retains its crunch after baking
Bring the eggs from the refirgerator to the counter to bring them to room temperature.
Combine the granulated sugar and lemon zest on a bowl and rub the zest into the sugar - by the time the eggs are at room temperature, the sugar will fully absorb the lemon zest flavor.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Prepare a 9" spring form pan, lining the bottom with parchment and buttering or oiling the sides (if you are staying truly dairy free, use oil)
In a bowl whisk the granulated sugar/lemon mixture and the egg yolks together until well combined
Add the almond meal, vanilla and salt and combine - this is a stiff dough
In a stand mixer whip the egg whites on high until stiff, about 3-4 minutes
Take a small amout of the egg whites and beat into the almond mixture to loosen it up
Add the remaining egg whites and fold gently, scraping from the outside of the bowl and folding in, until the egg whites are well incorporated into the almond mixture.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan
Top with the sliced almond and sprinkle with sanding sugar (or granulated)
Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cake is golden and pulling away from the sides of the pan slightly
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before you remove the cake from the pan, then dust with powdered sugar
Cool completely before serving
Serve with berries and whipped cream or just on its own - lovely with a cup of tea or coffee, or with a glass of red wine. It has been a welcome addition to my go to recipes.
Look at that beautiful texture!