***Sept-Oct 2022 Dinner Group Winner***
Almond Cake with Cream Sherry and Brandy (Tarta de Santiago)
Tarta de Santiago is an almond cake from Spain that couldn't be easier to make. It's naturally gluten free, with a little brightness from lemon and lovely sweet, soft texture. Great for coffee time or dessert.
8 T. unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
2 1/2 cups sliced skin-on almonds, divided
1/4 cup + 1 T. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. kosher salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
6 large egg yolks, room temperature
1 cup + 2 T. granulated sugar
3 large egg whites, room temperature
2 T. cream sherry
3 T. brandy
confectioner's sugar for decorating
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 inch round (2 inch deep) cake pan, cover the bottom with parchment paper, and butter again.
Spread 1/3 c. almonds on a half sheet pan and bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Cool completely on the pan, then spread evenly on the bottom of the prepared cake pan.
Meanwhile, grind the remaining 2 c. almonds in a food processor until very finely ground. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in the flour, salt and lemon zest. Reserve.
Beat the egg yolks, 3/4 c. sugar and 2 T. hot water with the whisk attachment of an electric mixer on medium-high speed until tripled in volume, light, and airy, about 5 minutes.
With the machine running, slowly pour in the melted butter in a steady stream.
Remove from the mixer and very gently fold in the almond flour mixture. Be careful not to overmix; mix just until incorporated and reserve.
Beat the egg whites with a clean whisk attachment in a clean bowl with and electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. With the machine running, add 1/4 c. sugar in a steady stream. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Gently fold the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Be sure not to deflate the mixture.
Gently and carefully dollop the batter over the almonds in the cake pan, then smooth the top.
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-50 minutes.
while the cake bakes, heat the sherry and remaining 2 T. sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the brandy.
When the cake is done, cool it in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. With a pastry brush, brush half the syrup on top of the cake. Cool completely in the pan on the rack. Invert the cake onto a serving plate and brush the remaining syrup on top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand overnight.
When ready to serve, place a stencil of the cross of St. James (Santiago cross) on top of the cake and dust around it with a nice layer of confectioner's sugar. Remove the stencil and serve.