This moist, lightly sweetened sponge cake, known as tarta de almendras in Spanish, combines Spanish citrus with the mild, aromatic Mediterranean flavors of almonds and olive oil. It is delicious served with fruit, and any leftovers make a perfect breakfast or teatime snack.
Orange-Scented Almond Torte
- 1/3 cup (80 ml) olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 oz./235 g) unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) coarsely chopped blanched almonds
- 1 cup (7 oz./200 g) sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 Tbs. grated orange zest
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Sliced orange segments or rounds for garnish (optional)
- Pomegranate seeds for garnish (optional)
- Honey for garnish (optional)
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) springform pan, dust it with flour and shake out the excess.
2. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a food processor, combine the almonds and 1/4 cup (2 oz./50 g) of the sugar and process until finely ground. In a bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium-high speed, beat the eggs until frothy. Add the remaining 3/4 cup (5 oz./150 g) sugar, raise the speed to high and beat until thick and pale yellow, 6 to 8 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and beat in the olive oil, orange zest and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the flour and almond mixtures until well blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Bake the torte until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the torte sides, then remove the pan sides. Let cool completely.
4. Decorate the whole torte or individual slices with orange segments and pomegranate seeds and drizzle with honey. Serves 8.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming, and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish by Paul Richardson.