This cake is a celebration cake. It is rich, with a zesty lemon flavour and is an ideal way to say thank you to your loved ones. It’s perfect for Mother’s Day and if made a day in advance, the taste develops and it is even better. The amaretto liqueur is optional, but as it’s a celebration cake, I suggest adding it. The flaked almond and brown sugar topping also adds delicious crunch and texture to the baked cake.
Ingredients & Method
- finely grated zest and juice of 4 lemons
- 225g unsalted butter, softened
- 225g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
- 225g ground almonds
- 3 large free-range eggs
- 1 teaspoon amaretto liqueur (optional)
- 115g semolina
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of table salt
- 50g flaked almonds
- 50g light soft brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin and set aside.
Strain the lemon juice though a fine sieve to remove the pips and set aside.
Cream the butter, caster sugar and vanilla seeds together in a bowl until pale and fluffy. Fold in the ground almonds, then add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the lemon zest and juice and amaretto, if you like, and mix well. Sprinkle the semolina, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture and lightly fold in, but do not overwork the mixture – the mixture will be runny. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin.
Bake in the oven for about 11/2 hours or until cooked and golden brown and a fine metal skewer inserted into the centre comes out almost clean with a light oily residue left on the skewer.
Remove from the oven, sprinkle the flaked almonds and brown sugar evenly over the top of the cake, spray the top with cold water a couple of times and then return the cake to the oven for a further 8 minutes or until the nuts are lightly toasted.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack and leave the cake to cool in the tin for 20–25 minutes or until it is just warm. Remove from the tin and cut into fairly thin slices to serve. This cake has a fine texture and is very rich, so only small portions are needed. Serve just warm with crème fraîche or mascarpone.
This cake can be made a day in advance and it will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
If you have leftovers, reheat portions in a low oven for a few minutes or in a microwave oven on MEDIUM for 20–30 seconds, to just warm the cake through before serving.