Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Amalfi? The name just conjures up images of a breath taking coast line. Beautiful scenery, blue skies, azure waters, gentle sea breeze, small villages, cobbled stones, friendly folk, but lemons? Maybe...

After coming home with a 4 lb bag of lemons from Costco, I was searching for a lemon cake and came across this one. Also seized the opportunity to try out my new baking mold, a souvenir from Paris. Okay. I'm bragging.. but it's so pretty. Just look..

Now between the zest and the lemon peel, I used about 8 lemons, then as I baked the cake for dessert for dinner, we had lemonade in the afternoon. But that's another recipe.

I made my own candied peel for this recipe, pretty easy. Here's how:
1. Remove just the yellow peel (not the pith) with a vegetable peeler and add it to a pan of cold water. I used 4 lemons for this recipe
2. Bring the pan to a boil, remove the peel and discard the water.
3. Repeat the boiling process two more times and then simmer the peel in a strong sugar syrup (roughly 2 parts sugar to 1 part water) for 10 minutes or so until the peel is transparent. (If you do include more of the pith, then it will take longer).
4 Toss the peel lightly in caster sugar once it's cold and store it in an airtight container until needed.

225 g softened butter (extra if using metal baking pans)
190 g icing sugar
Zest of 3-1/2 lemons, very grated
90 g candied lemon peel, finely chopped
1-1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten
190 cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
150 g ground almonds
150 ml milk

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C or 350F.
2. Butter and line a 20 cm round cake tin or, if you're like me, just use a silicone mold.

3. Cream the icing sugar and butter together thoroughly.
4. Briefly mix in the lemon zest, candied peel and vanilla paste and then gradually stir in the eggs.
5. Mix in the flour and baking powder.
6. Add half of the ground almonds and stir in gently.
7. Add half of the milk and do the same.
8. Repeat with the remainder of the ground almonds and the milk.

9. Put the mixture into the prepared tin and level it.
10. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes until you see a clean skewer.

11. Let the cake cool down in the tin before removing it.
12. Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar if you feel so inclined.

Best served with espresso.

This recipe I found online is based on a recipe by Salvatore De Riso, the celebrated pastry chef and baker from the Amalfi coast.

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