Today I would like to invite you to a trip to the Northwestern region of Galicia, which offers some of the most beautiful Spanish landscapes, very welcoming people and wonderful food -not very veggie-friendly though-. If you choose to walk the pilgrim’s path ‘Camino de Santiago’, your final destination will be the city of Santiago de Compostela, which you shouldn’t leave without trying their most famous cake, the ‘Tarta de Santiago’. Most bakeries in Santiago will sell it, especially around the 25th July for the day of St. James. But you will also be able to find it in many bakeries on the pilgrims way and generally around Galicia.
The recipe is relatively simple,with the main ingredients being almonds, sugar and eggs. The importance of this cake is such, that there is a Protected Geographical Indication issued by the Galician Food Quality Institute INGACAL. Chef’s who don’t strictly follow their guidelines are actually refused the certification! The Indication, entirely written in Galician language, establishes that the dough should contain at least 33% almond, 33% sugar and 25% eggs. In fact, we could actually bake the cake with just those three ingredients. However, most recipes will include some cinammon, lemon zest and even some high percentage alcohol like Spanish orujo.
You certainly do not need to decorate the cake with the cross of the Order of Santiago, but if one day you would like to apply for the Protected Geographical Indication, you would have to! Just in case, here’s a link to a printable layout of the cross that the blog Javi Recetas offers. Just cut it out and place it in the middle of the cake before covering it with icing sugar. Afterwards you just need to carefully remove it.
The almonds are quite important in this recipe and for better results it is advisable that you use almonds with at least 50% fat. They need to be peeled and raw. Ideally you should get the whole almonds and make the almond flour with a food processor, but already processed almond flour will also work well. Enjoy!
The traditional almond cake from the Northwestern region of Galicia
- 250 g almond flour
- 250 g fine sugar
- 1/2 lemon (zest only)
- 1 tsp cinammon powder
- 5 medium-sized eggs
- Butter to grease the springform
- Icing sugar
Preeheat oven to 170 C.
Use a whisk to mix the almond flour, sugar, lemon zest and cinammon in a bowl.
Add the eggs and mix well. If you would like the cake to be more fluffy, you can whisk the eggs beforehand, although the tendency is to get a firmer texture by just mixing the eggs in without whisking.
Grease a 23 or 24cm springform. Pour the dough in and distribute evenly. Then bake for approximately 35 min, until the top of the cake is toasted.
Leave to cool, then unmold and sprinkle with icing sugar (optionally using the cross layout).