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Almond Cake

by Russell Norman from Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking

This fragrant almond slice, flavoured with amaretto and lemon zest, makes for a delicious dessert or a tasty mid-morning treat. It also happens to be gluten free!

From the book

Russell Norman


One of the chief pleasures of mornings in Venice is taking a stroll to buy a small loaf of bread or some pastries and stopping for a swift coffee or two. The venerable caffè Rosa Salva on Campo Santi Giovanni e Paolo is a good example, but my favourite cake shop is Rizzardini near Campo San Polo. Established in 1742, it’s a family affair, run by Paolo and his daughter Marta. The pastries are super, but I tend to go for the little cakes. They have an almond slice I particularly like. Here’s my rather more homely version, perfect with a milky coffee as a morning treat.

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butter, for greasing
4 medium eggs
150g caster sugar
160g ground almonds
40g potato flour
the juice and zest of 1 lemon
25ml amaretto
a large handful sliced almonds

Essential kit

You will need a 20cm springform cake tin.


Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with butter and preheat the oven to 180˚C/gas 4.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in a very large mixing bowl and the whites in a medium bowl. Add the caster sugar to the yolks and beat until pale and smooth. Now gradually incorporate the ground almonds and flour, the lemon zest, lemon juice and amaretto, beating to create a thick, consistent mixture.

Take the bowl of egg whites and whisk them enthusiastically into stiff, fluffy peaks. Now, carefully fold them into the almond mixture and incorporate well.

Transfer the mixture into the greased cake tin, evenly scatter the sliced almonds, and place in the oven for 40 to 45 minutes. Test for doneness by pushing a steel skewer into the centre of the cake – it should come out dry.

Allow the cake to cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire cake rack. Serve warm with a handful of fresh raspberries as a dessert or with an espresso for a mid-morning indulgence.


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From the book: Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking

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