Almond orange cake. Need I say more? For someone like me who loves almonds and loves oranges, this cake is a marriage made in heaven 🍊🍰! I absolutely love almonds, I eat them everyday and I like them so much I have to control how many almonds I have. Anything with almonds is always a hit with me. I love oranges too, especially now in our Bay Area winter when oranges are as juicy and delicious as can be. As you can see combining two of my favorite foods in a cake is just a winner of recipe for me.
My friend Rose brought this delectable almond orange cake for a holiday tea back in December that was as delicious as anything can get, and I could have eaten the entire cake.
I’ve been wanting to make that cake ever since, but was afraid it wouldn’t turn out as good as hers. But with the rains and chilly temperaturs we have been having and beautiful oranges glowing in my basket, all this was tempting me to bake something delicious, and I thought let me try and bake this almond cake. Rose shared her recipe which she got from Epicurious and I gave it a look over.
A little background on Spanish Almond Cake
The original recipe hails from Spain and is called Tarta de Santiago—Galicia. According to Claudia Roden author of The Food of Spain this cake is unique to the area near the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. Almond orange cakes can be found in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurants near the Cathedral and they are usually marked with powdered sugar in the shape of the cross of the Order of Santiago. The cake comes in all shapes and sizes and is baked in a wide cake or tart pan so it turns out low.
For a wonderful almond cake with the lovely aroma of oranges this Spanish almond cake is the one. Almond cake on Epicurious.
Almond cake by Claudia Roden on Epicurious.
with a couple of modifications by Rose
- 1/2 pound (1 3/4 cups) blanched whole almonds – about 2 cups almond meal
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 drops almond extract
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Rose added 1/2 cup orange juice to amp up the orange flavor. Add this when you are mixing the sugar and egg yolks.
- Finely grind the almonds in a food processor.
- With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.
- With clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).
- Grease an 11-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, with butter and dust it with flour. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool before turning out.
- Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. Or, if you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper. Place it in the middle of the cake, and dust the cake with confectioners’ sugar, then remove the paper.
Cook’s Notes: The hardest part of this recipe is whipping the egg whites into thick peaks which takes a while. Its the egg whites that give this cake a nice fluffy texture and that too without using baking soda or baking powder. The other note that both Rose and I made is that the cake is baked in 30 minutes, if you leave it in for the suggested 40-minutes the cake will start burning, so be aware of the baking time.