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Almond Cake with Citrus Syrup

Warm lemony syrup is poured over this Spanish cake, making it moist and fragrant. A modest slice is just right after a generous Seder meal. This recipe is an adaptation of an almond and orange passover cake from The Book of Jewish Food (Knopf) by Claudia Roden.

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  • Servings: 12

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citrus syrup
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons matzo meal
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup ground almonds (4 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped (2 3/4 ounces)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • Confectioners' sugar (optional)


  1. In a small nonreactive saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer over moderately low heat for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; let steep.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°. Oil the bottom and sides of a 9-by-3-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper; oil the paper. Evenly coat the bottom and sides with the matzo meal, tapping out any excess. Refrigerate the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, use a wooden spoon to mix together the granulated sugar, almonds, lemon zest and egg yolks.
  4. In a large bowl, preferably copper, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Stir one-quarter of the egg whites into the almond mixture to lighten it. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the remaining egg whites in 3 additions.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake on the lowest shelf of the oven for about 1 hour, or until golden and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out dry. Let cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the cake. Remove the pan sides and invert the cake onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment and let the cake cool to room temperature.
  6. Reheat and strain the syrup. Transfer the cake to a plate and prick all over with a fork. Pour the syrup evenly over the cake and set aside at room temperature for at least 3 hours or overnight. Sift confectioners' sugar over the cake, if desired, and serve.
Contributed By Published April 1997

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