Spain – Tarta de Santiago

After a long hiatus, DessEarth is back with – what else – cake! Or tart since there is no flour… or a cakey tart since there is no tart pan? It’s actually unclear, but the Tarta de Santiago has a heap of sugar so thats all that really matters. The name comes from the image of the Cross of Saint James that is stenciled onto the top of the cake using powdered sugar. How descriptive. As proof that this is the correct dessert to represent Spain in this illustrious blog I give you the following: the Tarta de Santiago was chosen to represent Spain on Europe Day 2006.

The Bake

A very simple bake. As with most cakes, make sure to not over mix the batter. It would be tempting to replace the ground almonds with almond flour, but then the cake would lose some of its nice texture.

 

While baking the cake turns golden after roughly half an hour, but have no fear, leaving it in for slightly longer will not burn the cake. After 40 minutes, check the cake every few minutes and remove only when the edges start to brown.

The Moment of Truth

The Tarta de Santiago would pair perfectly with a nice black tea or morning coffee. It is not overly sweet and, unsurprisingly, has a strong nutty flavor. Bonus: the denseness means you only need a small slice to feel satisfied. In all, an easy dessert for your next fancy-pants tea party where half of the guests are gluten intolerant (or at least say they are).

The Recipe

This recipe is courtesy of Spanish Food. Another excellent version, which includes vanilla for a little extra pizzaz, can be found here.

250 grams  (1 1/3 cup) almonds

250 grams (1 1/3 cup) sugar

5 eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Powdered sugar to dust

Stencil of Santiago cross (any of these will work)

Preheat the oven to 345 degrees Fahrenheit (175 Celsius). Butter a 9 inch round. Pulse the almonds in a food processor until they are the consistency of grainy sand (small enough to be impossible to separate individual almonds but not so small to the point of being almond flour) In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, almonds, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Add the eggs and mix well with a spatula until just combined. Pour into prepared round and bake for 45 minutes until just golden and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely. Once cool, very lightly wet the paper stencil and place on top of the cake. Dust with powdered sugar, remove the stencil, and enjoy.

Fun Fact

The national anthem of Spain is one of only four national anthems to have no official lyrics.

Bonus FF: In 2002, Britain invaded Spain… for five minutes.

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