Torta del Re (Italian King’s Cake)
Makes 12 servings.
2 TBS butter or margarine for greasing the pan
5 lg eggs, separated
Sm pinch of salt
11⁄4 C sugar
21⁄2 C blanched almonds, very finely chopped (if you use a blender or food processor, add a tablespoon of sugar from the 11⁄4 C so nuts don’t clump together)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Grated zest of a lemon
Confectioner’s sugar for garnish
1⁄4 C sliced almonds, toasted
Line bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with parchment paper and grease the sides with butter or margarine.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Beat the egg whites with salt until stiff and dry.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks until foamy, then gradually add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is lemon-colored. Gradually add the chopped almonds, then the two extracts and the lemon zest. You should have a very hard paste. Mix a third of the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture to make it softer. Delicately fold in the remaining egg whites and pour into the prepared pan.
Place in the center of the middle rack in the preheated oven and bake for one hour. After the hour is over, leave the oven door ajar for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove the pan from the oven and place it upside down on a cooling rack. When the cake is cool, remove it from the pan and place it upside down over a cake dish. Top with confectioner’s sugar using a sifter and sprinkle with the toasted sliced almonds.
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