There was a twilight moment – ten years ago – on a narrow walkway outside of a tiny bakery in Venice. Kevin and I were on our first trip since our honeymoon. Street lamps were lit, and we were wandering after a dinner where Kevin may or may not have consumed twelve baby squid cooked in their own ink. We were relying heavily on my language skills (never a good idea – in case you were wondering, and possibly the reason Kevin ended up getting served all those baby squid.) We stumbled upon a small bakery and ordered two slices of dense cake dusted in powdered sugar – big thick wedges – that were handed to us in parchment paper. There was some confusion – and we left the bakery with no bag, no box – the cake in hand. Laughing it off – we stood outside of the bakery in the twinkling Venice streetlights and messily ate the most delicious lemon scented almond cake. In that moment, as we inhaled that powdered sugar, all was right in the world – living like confused boozy Americans in Italy. This recipe is the closest I have come to recreating that cake. I’ve turned it into a Christmas classic – because Christmas makes me feel the same way that moment does. Warm, safe and peaceful while the world bustles around me. I bet you didn’t know a cake could do that. Enjoy – and Happy Holidays to you and yours.
3 cups and 3 tablespoons of almond meal
1 cup and 3 tablespoons of white chocolate chopped
2 tablespoons whipping cream (or milk)
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter – softened
2/3 cup sugar
4 lemons – zested
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 eggs – separated
pinch of salt
Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 10″ springform pan. Combine white chocolate with cream/milk in a bowl and microwave in 30 second increments – stirring inbetween – until melted. Set aside to cool slightly. Cream the butter with most of the sugar – save a few tablespoons of the sugar for a later step. Beat until fluffy. Add the lemon zest, and egg yolks. Add the almond flour and the melted chocolate. Add the lemon juice and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until soft peaks form – add the remaining sugar . Fold the egg whites into the almond batter until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes. Cake will rise and fall as it cools. Once cool, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!