Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake

If you’re longing for some sunshine or need a little cheering up, then I can definitely recommend this cake. To me, it tastes like pure sunshine in cake form – moist, crumbly, buttery and very lemony. It’s based on a recipe by Salvatore De Riso, the celebrated pastry chef and baker from the Amalfi coast.

There are a lot of lemons needed for this cake, but then there are a lot of lemons on the Amalfi coast so that’s the way it has to be. In fact, it calls for a fair bit of candied lemon peel and I know that candied peel is likely to make some people avoid this cake. I used to feel that way thanks to the poor quality candied peel that I’d eaten in the past. Buy good quality or, better still, make your own candied peel, however, and the taste and texture are so much better. For use in baking I prefer to avoid using most of the pith and so it will take 3 or 4 lemons, depending on their size, to make enough candied peel for this cake

You may well have your own method of making candied peel but, briefly, here’s what I do. Remove just the yellow peel (not the pith) with a vegetable peeler and add it to a pan of cold water. Bring the pan to a boil, remove the peel and discard the water. 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). Toss the peel lightly in caster sugar once it’s cold and store it in an airtight container until needed.
Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake
Serve this cake with coffee or as a dessert and, if you’re anything like me, feel instantly happier from the first mouthful.

150 g softened butter (plus a bit more for the tin)
160 g icing sugar
Zest of 2 lemons, very finely chopped
60 g candied lemon peel, finely chopped
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
2 eggs, lightly beaten
80 g plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
50 g potato flour
100 g ground almonds
100 ml milk

Preheat the oven to 160°C. Butter and line a 20 cm round cake tin or, if you’re like me, just use a silicone mould.

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

Put the mixture into the prepared tin and level it. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes. A knifepoint should come out clean when the cake is ready.

Let the cake cool down in the tin before removing it. Dust the top of the cake with icing sugar if you feel so inclined.
Amalfi Lemon and Almond Cake
I'm entering this post in a new blogging challenge starting this month - Alphabakes hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker (the host for February's challenge) and Caroline from Caroline Makes. Each month a random letter of the alphabet is selected and the challenge is to bake with an ingredient starting with that letter. Happily this month's letter is L and that says lemons to me.

21 comments:

  1. That does look very sunshiny! (and very tasty too!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. GREAT photo!... and wonderful cake... it looks so delicious and fluffy and totally my kind of cake... lovely stuff and YES just soooo sunshiney!!! just what we need x

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is such a beautiful cake Phil. A truly Italian or better, southern Italian one! In Amalfi lemons have a beautiful smell and they are so big and juicy.
    I have made lemon cakes before but not like this one. Thanks for sharing it, it is definetely a keeper!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds so tasty. Very impressed that you made your own candied peel.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love anything lemon flavoured so this sounds really great. Thanks for tip on making the candied peel. Guess what I will be doing tomorrow? :) Diane

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a great looking cake, Phil. It looks as if it has a superb texture!

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a lovely looking bake- it reminds me of sun...and holidays...and sun... Super photos as well Phil!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you so much for entering this to AlphaBakes. It looks like a plateful of sunshine in edible cake form :) ps Where did you get potato flour from and does it affect the taste?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for the nice comments everyone.
    Baking Addict - I use potato flour quite a lot in baking this kind of cake. It helps to keep the cake light and soft and it has no real flavour of its own. I normally buy it from health food shops.

    ReplyDelete
  10. One of my friends, a pastry chef, went on vacation to the Amalfi coast and brought these lemons back with her on the plane! We enjoyed a wonderful cake here in Beirut after her trip flavored with these lemons; I had been wanting to make this cake and thanks to you, I can~

    ReplyDelete
  11. I love lemon taste in cakes! Yours sounds just amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can almost taste it and smell it!
    I've had the pleasure of seeing those beautiful Amalfi lemons growing on the trees, so you brought back some happy memories for me!
    Beautiful pic too :-D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Sunshine in a cake form... how bad can that be? The colour is just gorgeous. I love lemon cake and especially cakes made with ground almonds.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This looks so good, a bit of lemon to cheer us up! I've never made candied peel but you've made it sound so easy I'd be stupid not to give it a go! I like your blog and your recipes are right up my street - am now following!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for some organic lemons to make this cake.

    I feel (wishfully) that I could just reach into your photo and grab a slice!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a cake full of sunshine indeed! Sounds absolutely delicious. Lemon cake has something above all others (even chocolate ones!)

    ReplyDelete
  17. This looks lovely...you can just see that it is light and bursting with lemon!

    ReplyDelete
  18. What a great colour! Thanks for entering Alphabakes, hope to see you in March!

    ReplyDelete
  19. this looks incredibly moist and delicious crumbling yum thanks for sharing :)

    ReplyDelete
  20. I feel intsantly happier just reading about it!! Looks wonderful!

    ReplyDelete

Sorry but I've had to switch word verification on due to a vast amount of very depressing spam.