Lena from Frozen wing, Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and I have all agreed to bake this interesting cake for our bake-along.
Through this bake, I've learned a few interesting facts about this cake...
One is there is no salt added in this cake.
Two is this Spanish originated cake has a great fluffy texture and very delicious when it is eaten traditionally by pinching out its fluffy bits.
Three...As described in the book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum, this cake can be baked in a few different forms: as (1) a loaf, (2) tall cupcakes encased in wings of parchment or (3) like how Rose baked hers in a round shaped cake tin. For my bake, I'm baking this cake as tall cupcakes using leftover party paper cups and this method has worked very well for me.These cupcakes are very soft and fluffy with a hint of almond nutty taste.
Here's the recipe from the book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
(with my modification in blue)
112 g slice almonds, preferably unblanched (I use almond meal)
181 g superfine sugar (I use 160g superfine sugar plus 20g icing sugar)
6 large eggs
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 tsp loosely packed lemon zest, finely grated
56 g cake flour, or bleached all purpose flour, sifted (I use the Italian OO flour)
Equipment: One 9 x 2 ½ to 3-inch spring form or cake pan. (I use 10 party paper cups to make the cake into tall cupcakes)
Coat the pan with shortening, bottom and sides and line with parchment paper. For sides cut a 33 x 3 inch band of parchment, overlapping an extra piece if necessary to make long enough. Wrap and press it against the inside wall of the pan. Use some extra shortening to coat the overlapping ends to hold them in place against the first strip of parchment.
To grease and line my party paper cups: First, I use rice bran oil spray to grease the cups. Then, I cut out strips of baking paper that can fit into each cup and overlay each baking paper into the cups using extra oil spray to coat the overlapping ends.
Preheat the oven to 160°C (or 150°C fan forced).
Spread the almonds (almond meal) evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes, or until pale golden. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid over-browning. Cool completely. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and 2 1/2 tbsp of the sugar until as fine as possible. Stop before the nuts start to become pasty. (I omit this step because I was using almond meal and mix in 20g icing sugar when the toasted almond meal is completely cooled.)
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peak form when the beater is raised. Gradually beat in the remaining sugar, stopping the mixer once to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until the meringue is very thick and glossy, but will not be smooth. Detach the whisk from the mixer and use it to stir the almond mixture into the meringue until evenly incorporated.
Re-attach the whisk beater and, with the mixer on medium speed, add the beaten egg to the meringue 2 tbsp at a time, beating for 2 mins between each addition. It should take a total of 20 to 25 mins, but be sure to beat for a minimum of 20 mins. Beat in the lemon zest. Remove the bowl and beater from the stand. While the mixture is beating, weigh or measure out the flour.
Sift the flour onto the batter and, using the whisk beater, fold in the flour until fully incorporated. Reach to the bottom of the bowl and be sure that no white specks of flour remain. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for 25 to 35 mins (I bake the cupcakes for 20 min), or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake spring back when pressed very lightly in the center. The cake will rise just a little and then sink slightly in the center.
Set the pan on a wire rack and immediately loosen and remove the sides, leaving the parchment attached to the cake. Allow the cake to cool until it is warm or at room temperature, about 1 hour.
Delicious eaten in the traditional way by pinching out pieces of fluffy cake. The cake keeps wrapped airtight for 1 week at room temperature, for 10 days refrigerated, and for 6 months frozen.
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