Whoa look, something sweet on here! I told you I failed my Whole30. I’m going out with bang. A somewhat Paleo-friendly bang, with a whole food, deliciously ethnic cake to celebrate my impending trip to Spain. That’s right, I’m turning 30 and I’ve decided I can’t stand not having seen the world anymore. I even signed up for a Spanish class, which I would have done regardless of my decision to go to Spain. I always regret not having continued my years of middle and high school Spanish. I was so happy to drop the class when I did, but only because I was so overworked. But I’m determined to get back into speaking Spanish and how convenient it will be in Spain when I can ask “¿Dónde puedo conseguir una Torta de Santiago?” and not have to consult Google Translate.
This morning when I opened up the front curtains, I saw that the neighbor’s and our lawns were flooded. At first I thought that perhaps he was just smarter than I and thought to water his lawn in the midst of this winter drought, while our lawn withers away. But I went out to investigate and after tromping barefoot through our pond-yard, saw that all the water was coming from an irrigation pipe under his yard. Sweet! Have fun sucker! How wonderful it was to find our sump pump in the basement spewing water, our downstairs bathroom flooded, and the little closet in the basement where we keep all our outdoorsy gear equally flooded. Awesome. The backyard looked pretty great with sleeping bags and backpacks hanging on branches out to dry.
I first made this cake back in Boston for a ridiculous tapas party where I cooked for hours. There was so much food you would think I would’ve learned my lesson never to make approximately ten times what any one person could ever eat. Nope, I’ve replicated that kind of spread many times since – Thanksgivings, Christmases, Super Bowl parties… on and on, and the more I’m thinking about it right now, the more I want to have a tapas party. It’s been so long! Chorizo! Mackerel! Shrimp! Potatoes! This cake! Because it’s lovely and impressive and it’s grain-free and that’s so hip.
I hate blanching almonds. I’m just not fussy enough about that kind of thing. And when I really should be using Marcona almonds anyway for this cake, I feel okay about leaving the skins on. Besides, the almonds are ground fine enough that you don’t run the risk of getting sheaths of skin suctioned on your teeth. If you’d rather buy pre-blanched almonds in almond flour form, that’s cool. Are all almonds you buy pasteurized? That’s so irritating.
honey almond cake
adapted from lots of recipes for torta de Santiago
6 eggs at room temperature, separated
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1/2 lemon
9 oz almonds, finely ground
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks, honey, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and lemon zest until combined. Mix in the ground almonds.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the almond mixture.
3. Line a springform cake pan, or just a regular cake pan, with parchment paper. Grease the sides. Pour in the batter and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
Now, you can top this cake how you’d like – you can get fancy and make an egg white frosting or dust with powdered sugar (if you make your own of course – or not, if you love that GMO cornstarch) or you can go nice and simple and drizzle extra honey on top. That’s my favorite.