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Passover Italian Almond Cake

Servings: 12
A simple cake to make for the Jewish holiday of Passover. Dress it up by dusting the top with confectioners' sugar and topping it with fresh fruit, such as sweet red grapes, or sugared strawberries.

2 tbsp. matzo meal, plus more for coating cake pan
2 cups whole blanched almonds, or 2 cups packaged finely ground almonds
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs, separated
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Garnish (optional)
Confectioners' sugar (pareve for passover)
Sugared strawberries, or red grapes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment or wax paper and grease the paper. Evenly coat the bottom and side with matzah meal, tapping out any excess.

If you are using whole blanched almonds, in a food processor, pulse the whole blanched almonds with 2 tbsp. of matzah meal and 1/4 cup of granulated sugar until very finely ground. If using packaged finely ground almonds, mix by hand, packaged ground almonds with the matzah meal and the 1/4 cup sugar, continue as follows.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks with the brown sugar and the remaining granulated sugar at high speed until very light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. At low speed, gradually add the ground almond mixture, the extracts, the olive oil, and the lemon zest.

In a medium bowl, using clean beaters, whip the egg whites with the salt until stiff peaks form. Beat 1/4 of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it; then quickly fold in the remaining whites.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface, sprinkle top with sliced almonds. Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Run a small, sharp knife around the side of the cake, transfer it to a rack and let cool completely in the pan. Remove the side of the pan and invert the cake onto a serving plate. Remove the base of the pan, then carefully peel off the paper.

Dust top of cake with confectioners' sugar. If desired, serve with sugared strawberries or sweet red grapes.

Makes 12 servings.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall©2002

Source: DianasDesserts.com
Date: March 8, 2002