cooking tarta de santiago (flourless almond cake)
August 19, 2014
This is an old school Galician almond cake. I think it’s invention was in the Middle Ages. The translation is cake of St James and it’s normally quite a religious looking confection, with it’s cross of St. James stencilled over the top in icing sugar. You can bake the filling in pastry, or have it as a cake, as it is here.
I choose to forgo the sugar cross, but apart from that the recipe is pretty true to the original. Oh except I swap almond essence for vanilla, because I think satan himself may have invented almond essence, horrible stuff.
This cake is flourless, so get stuck in if you’re gluten-free. It has a lovely sticky, nutty, cloudy crumb.
I like to serve it with macerated strawberries and thick cream. And amen, it’s delish.
- 250g whole almonds, blitzed in a processor until you get rubble-like almond flour
- 6 organic eggs, separated
- 250g caster sugar
- the zest of 1 orange
- the zest of 1 lemon
- 4 drops of vanilla extract
plus butter for greasing, flour for dusting, icing sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.
Butter and flour a 25cm diameter cake tin or line it with a paper cake liner. Traditionally this cake should be quite flat and wide, but I prefer a less wide tin because I like the stickiness you get from a taller cake).
Beat the yolks and sugar until they are pale and paint-like in consistency, so you can’t feel any sugar grains left. Add the orange zest, lemon zest and vanilla extract and ground almonds. Mix well.
Whisk the egg whites in a super clean mixer (wipe a lemon in the bowl to get rid of any grease) until really stiff. Fold through the almond mixture in two parts. The almond mix is quite thick, so you’ll have to work the egg whites in a lightly as you can. You should end up with a really voluptuous batter.
Pour into your cake tin and bake for about 40mins. Leave to cool before turning out, and dust with icing sugar
Once you’ve turned it out, turn it the other way over, so you get a nice even surface for dusting