I've been making this cake for years since I found it on the internet somewhere. In a plethora of questionable online recipes, this one is golden. The cake is small, it's a whole lot of nut, and there's nothing saccharine about it. Yet even with spelt flour it's light because of the beaten egg whites. I also add hazelnut extract and rosewater, but you don't have to. In the summer, I top the cake with fresh whipped cream and berries or small slices of plum. But Friday's version was inspired by Mary Claire's stories of walking the Camino in Spain, where the local people would feed her cheese and honey in-between long stretches of hiking. It was her idea to put the ricotta cheese on the cake, and oh, was she right.
for Dad's birthday and dinner with new friendsMake sure the rack is in the middle of the oven, preheat to 400 degrees.
Pulse the almonds with 1/3 cup sugar in a food processor. In a large bowl, add the almond sugar mixture, yolks, flour, salt, milk, vanilla, hazelnut extract, and rosewater. Whisk together.
Now, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt to get soft peaks. Slowly add the other 1/3 cup sugar with the beaters on medium speed until you get stiffer peaks. Then add the egg whites to the batter in thirds, by gently folding in to the center of the bowl.
Pour this into a buttered and dusted 9x2” pan – whatever you have. Bake the cake for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on your oven. Cool it for five minutes, invert it onto rack and wait for it to cool fully. Then spread the top with ricotta cheese and pour drips of honey all over it. If you want, caramelize some walnuts by frying them in a pan with sugar and butter, and put them on top.