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King's Cake - Torta del Re

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This almond cake recipe is said to be from a woman whose chef was a close friend of the King's chef. Quite possible -- the king's chef had to get his ideas from somewhere -- and I expect you could vary your choice of nuts, or even use a mixture if you wanted to.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • A 10-inch (25 cm) spring form pan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine for greasing the pan
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 g) sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups (225 g) blanched almonds, finely chopped (if you use a blender, go easy, with short bursts --
  • you don't want them to liquefy and give off their oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (vary this is you use different nuts)
  • The grated zest of a lemon
  • Confectioner's Sugar (Note: if your confectioner's sugar contains cornstarch and you're making this for Passover,
  • blend some granular sugar for a few seconds to turn it to a powder).
  • Slivered almonds (or whatever other nut you are using), toasted

Preparation:

Prepare the pan and set it aside.

Preheat your oven to 325 f (160 C).

Beat the egg whites and the salt to firm peaks.

Whisk the yolks until they're foamy, then gradually incorporate the sugar and continue to whisk until the mixture is lemon-colored. Gradually incorporate the chopped nuts, the extracts, and the zest; at the end of this the batter will be quite stiff. Mix a third of the egg whites into the batter to soften it, then delicately fold in the remainder.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for an hour without opening the oven door. Turn off the heat, open the door a crack, and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it and standing it upside down to finish cooling.

Remove it from a pan to a cake dish, dust it with confectioner's sugar using a sifter, and sprinkle it with the slivered nuts.

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