Nonna’s Italian almond lemon cake is a fantastic recipe from Sicily.
Almonds and lemons to create a treat for all palates!
- 3 large lemons, washed and left whole (Meyer lemons preferred)
- 2 3/4 cups finely ground blanched or sliced almonds
Chef’s note: The easiest way to measure the almonds is by weight. You will need 3/4 of a pound or 300 grams. Three 1/4 pound packages makes the task even easier.
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 6 eggs, separated
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Confectioner’s sugar
9-inch spring form pan, buttered, lined with buttered parchment paper and set aside.
- 1 cup or more of confectioner’s sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fiore di Sicilia extract
- few drops of milk
CANDIED LEMON SLICES
- 2 medium size lemons, thinly sliced and seeds removed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- Coarse white sugar for dipping slices
Place lemons in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook just under the boil for about 45 minutes. Drain and when cool, trim the ends, cut them in half widthwise and remove the seeds. Chop the lemons and place in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the sugar and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a fine mesh strainer set over and a bowl and strain the lemon mixture.
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Divide blanched peeled almonds into three batches and whirl them in a food processor until they are powdered. Combine the batches and set them aside.
Beat the egg yolks and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until they are pale yellow and frothy looking, and then beat in the drained lemon mixture and the powdered almonds. Stir in the salt and baking powder.
In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the whites into soft peaks. Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture and pour the batter into the pan.
Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry. Be careful not to let the cake brown too much; it should be golden brown.
Cool slightly then release sides of the spring pan, remove the sides, and let the cake cool.
Dust it with confectioner’s sugar and serve with the candied lemon slices.
Or make a confectioner’s glaze with:
Mix all until the glaze consistency forms then spread over cooled cake; add several candied lemon slices and some sprigs of mint for garnish.
CANDIED LEMON SLICES
Combine sugar and water in a 12 inch or larger skillet and heat until sugar dissolves and mixture looks clear. Add the lemon slices in single layers (use two pans if necessary) and simmer gently until liquid is reduced, turns syrupy and lemons look glazed.
Transfer lemon slices with tongs to a lightly oiled rack to cool slightly; when cool enough to handle dip one half into the coarse sugar. Cool completely then use to garnish cake.
Nonna’s Italian almond lemon cake