Monday, 8 September 2014

Torta de Limon

Life for all of us can be somewhat demanding, dispiriting even and always so darn complicated that when it comes to baking, I just want things to be simple. Now in the bake off age it may seem rather trite to unburden oneself of needless cakey complications but what can I say, life is too short to fixate on the near infinite intricacies involved in creating a sweet treat. That's not to say there is no room for the sophisticated and the complex in ones baking repertoire, it's just I'd prefer to leave that to those with more patience, more skill and more time than I.

This gluten-free beauty is simply sensational. Quick and easy to prepare, yet pleasingly peregrine in both flavour and texture it will keep your guests guessing, if they are lucky enough to be gifted a slice or two that is. It's the tangy lemon syrup that does it, not only adding a sweet sharpness, but turning the biscuity crumb sticky and chewy. I've made this one with oranges many many times, but for the foreseeable future it's going to be lemons all the way!

Prep time: 20 Mins
Baking time: 45-50 Mins
For the cake
3 Large Eggs (Separated)
200g Caster Sugar
1tsp Almond Extract
1/2tsp Lemon Extract
The zest of 3 Unwaxed Lemons
200g Ground Almonds

For the syrup
100ml Fresh Lemon Juice (About 3 Lemons)
50g Caster Sugar

So if you are ready, then we'll begin. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4, grease a 20cm baking tin and line with baking paper. Add the egg whites to a large, clean mixing bowl and whisk until starting to stiffen. Add some of the sugar, whisk again, then repeat until all the sugar has been used and the mixture has become glossy and stiff.

In a separate bowl mix together the egg yolks, extracts and lemon zest. Add a third of the egg whites, gently fold through then do the same with the ground almonds. Do this again, then once more until evenly combined then pour or spoon into your prepared tin. Bake in the centre of the oven for around 45-50 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. When you are happy the cake is baked remove from the oven, leave in the tin for 10 mins, then VERY carefully turn out onto a wire rack, peeling off the baking paper from the base.

For the syrup, add the juice and sugar to a small saucepan then fire the heat up on high. Leave to bubble away for 5-10 minutes, until just starting to become syrupy, then remove from the heat. Poke the surface of your warm cake with a toothpick then spoon over some of the syrup. You might want to put a plate under your wire rack for this to catch any syrup that runs off. Leave the syrup to soak into the surface then spoon over some more. Keep doing this until the syrup has gone (Mine usually takes about three soaking sessions), then leave to cool completely. Congratulations, you are finished.

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