Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes (round pans); 40 - 45 minutes (springform pan)
Here is a simple but tasty version of a traditional German Mandeltorte. It's delightfully moist, not too sweet and has lovely citrus notes. It is naturally dairy free, since many torte recipes are made without dairy fats. However, it is high in egg content and if you cannot have eggs, skip this recipe as egg replacements will not work. You can even make this cake gluten-free by substituting the breadcrumbs with GF breadcrumbs you make from your own breads or pre-packaged ones. This cake is also receptive to different frostings and fillings - see the note at the end of the directions for ideas.
- 3/4 cup whole natural (unblanched) almonds (these must be plain and not roasted or salted)
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 6 large eggs, separated, and at room temperature
- 1/2 cup toasted fresh or dry unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. almond extract
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon or 1 small orange
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour the bottoms of two 8 x 2" round pans or one 8" springform pan, or line the bottoms with wax or parchment paper.
Finely grind the almonds and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar on high speed until thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Stir in the almonds along with the breadcrumbs, cinnamon, almond extract, zest and the juice of the lemon (or orange).
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Use a spatula and fold in a quarter of the egg whites into the almond mixture, then fold in the remaining whites.
Scrape the batter into the pan(s) and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean - about 20 minutes in round pans and 40 - 45 minutes in a springform pan. Let cool completely in the pan(s) on a rack; the center will sink as it cools. Slide a slim knife around the torte to detach it from the pan(s). Level and invert the torte before frosting.
Or, if using a springform, remove the pan side, invert, remove the paper liner (if using), and serve right side up sprinkled with confectioners sugar.
NOTE: Layers can be filled with flavored, sweetened whipped cream, lemon-orange custard filling or a mixture of whipped cream and lemon curd. You can frost the cake with whipped cream, coffee whipped cream, or a bittersweet chocolate glaze.
If presenting the cake in a more formal manner, do frost the cake, as the frosting will disguise the noticeable concavity in the cake. If serving the cake in an informal manner, a simple sprinkling of confectioners sugar is completely acceptable.