Phew, moving is ridiculous. I am just thankful that this time we are only moving 20 minutes away and not the 800 miles we did last spring. Still, with Joel working a bajillion and a half hours a week, I am trying to accomplish as much as I can by myself, and my wonderful assistant Ladybug. Thank goodness for the blessed help of some amazing friends who have been helping me move boxes and clean! Today I am SO SO SO excited to introduce you to one of my very best friends. Her name is Dana, and she was honestly my first best friend. She is one of the sweetest, and truest friends that I have ever had. We both love to read a good book, drink a good mug of tea, and to spend time in the kitchen. We even began learning to cook together, although at that time we were young enough that our mom's barely let us make boxed brownies by ourselves, but we still loved it! It has been fun to watch each other grow up, our kitchen skills improve, and see how close our friendship still is, even with going to different colleges and then getting married and moving to different states. So, without further ado, here is Dana!
Hello Gingered Whisk readers! My name is Dana and you can usually find me blogging at ModulatingUp. I am so excited to be doing this guest post for Jenni! I am a musician, teacher, and lover of all things kitchen related (except washing dishes. I cannot say I love that.) I have known Jenni since before I could even boil water; it has been such a fun journey from growing up near each other to now when we live in different time zones and try to keep up on each others lives through our respective blogs. Jenni has long inspired me to try new things in my life, including starting a cooking blog, so it is such an honor to be asked to do a guest post for her. Thanks, Jenni!
In May of 2006 I went on a trip that was truly life changing. It was my final semester of my final year of college and a group of my close friends and I went to Spain to follow the Camino de Santiago. The Camino is an ancient pilgrimage route to the city of Santiago de Compostela where the remains of St. James (Santiago) are said to be buried. But it is oh so much more than that. Even though we didn’t walk the whole thing (we were automobile pilgrims) it was still such a moving experience.
Recently the film “The Way” came out and renewed my interest in all things Camino related. The film is truly beautiful and worth watching, even if you haven’t ever heard of the Camino. I have been yearning for Sangria, Paella and the scent of incense in the air ever since I saw it. In my search for all foods Spanish, I found a recipe for Torta de Santiago (which I sadly did not eat in Spain) and knew I had to make it.
The Torta is a delicious, lemon infused sponge cake. Even with a pound of ground up almonds inside, lemon is the overriding flavor, giving this cake a refreshing taste. Straight out of the oven, the outside crust is nice and crunchy and the inside crumb is, well, spongey. After a few days marinating, the crust has a more chewy texture, but on the whole the cake does well super fresh or after a couple days.
Torta de Santiago
Almond Sponge Cake
1lb (500g) blanched almonds (about 3 cups)
2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
grated zest and juice of 1 large lemon
Preheat oven to 350℉. Butter a 9 inch springform pan.
Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast briefly just until their aroma is released, 8-10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, let cool, and then place in a blender or food processor with a few tablespoons of the granulated sugar. Process until finely ground.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the flour, ground almonds and lemon zest. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and prick the top of the cake with a fork. Sprinkle with the lemon juice. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the pan.
After the cake is fully cooled, transfer to a serving plate and dust top with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. This is traditionally decorated in the shape of St. James’ Cross, but is equally yummy if dusted evenly over the whole cake.
(In the haste to eat this cake, I didn't manage to get a photo of the cut piece of cake. Oops!)