In the first version, I ground my own almonds in the processor. A mistake. And with the second attempt, I used packaged almond flour. Moi heaves a sigh of relief! Thank you, Whole Foods.
Compare the two versions. Quite a difference; the first one is darker and has itty bitty annoying pieces of almond that get stuck between your teeth. But the second photo looks exactly like the photo in the book so it was a success!
So what's my problem, you ask? I don't like potato flour. It smells ummm....nasty. Nor did I like the texture of the batter in the first two versions. Now, dear gluten free readers, go ahead and make this version. It's good. Tastes fine. Exactly what it's supposed to look and taste like. And you invert the cake anyway so it's smooth on top. But I had to try the recipe one last time, using all purpose flour to see what difference it would make. And the result is the photo accompanying the recipe below. I don't know why I am fussing so over this one recipe, but I can't help it. There's something about this cake that appeals to me and I wanted to give it one more go.
This post is also about a cookbook. Sophie Dahl's. For one thing, she is Roald Dahl's granddaughter. Don't you adore his books? My kids were brought up on them.
Sophie really is a woman of parts, no pun intended! Of course you've all seen the ad for Opium perfume she did ( HERE) which caused such a scandal at the time. She was modeling in NYC at the time. And she IS rather voluptious. Or she was until she went from a size 14 to a size 6. I hope she has some sort of autobiography in the works because her life (and she's still only 33) would make a good read. It's worth the CLICK just to read about Sophie, especially if you know nothing about her.
Some say her new cooking show in the UK is trying to copy Nigella's. Who cares? is what I say. I think her cookbook is fun. And typically British. I've already made a couple things in it which I loved and this lemon cake makes three. Or five, if you want to count my fiddling around with the other versions.
From Sophie:"I wanted to write a memoir about food, a recipe book that gets over the message that you don't have to starve yourself to be reasonably skinny. You can eat quite happily and the more you obsess about it, the more of an issue it becomes. It's an anecdotal book about how to be slim - and still eat. Healthy breakfasts, lunches and suppers, and some fattening puddings. Easy, simple home cooking that's healthy."
Sophie says she got this lemon torte recipe from a taxi cab driver in Sorrento whose wife hated when he made it because he made such a mess in the kitchen. She's right. It's a lot of bowls. And it kind of shoots out of the mixer if you're not careful. I've never made a cake quite like this and while potato flour smells peculiar, I must admit you can't really taste it when you eat the cake. And her idea of mixing lemon curd with crème fraiche is brilliant. It makes the cake. I don't know squat about gluten-free, but this version with potato flour is, isn't it? Which ought to please some of my readers who are very loyal even if most of my dessert recipes use APF. I suppose there are other substitutes for potato flour that are gluten-free, but I'm calling it quits now. Three times is definitely enough.
And my final version? Sheer delight. Still a dense cake, but somehow lighter. I can see serving it with some lovely fresh fruit, or just go with the lemon curd idea. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Lemon Capri Torte
Adapted from Miss Dahl's Voluptuous Delights
(My changes will be in parenthesis)
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup superfine sugar
6 eggs, room temperature, separated
zest and juice of 4 lemons
2 cups of blanched almonds, toasted and then ground (I used Whole Foods almond flour)
1 cup of potato flour ( I used 1-3/4 cups all purpose flour instead)
Preheat oven to 400°. Grease and flour (using potato flour) a 9 inch springform pan. (I lined the bottom with parchment paper, and then greased the pan. I used fine bread crumbs instead of potato flour)
In a bowl, mix the potat0 ( or all purpose) flour with the almond flour and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks all at the same time. Then add the lemon juice and rind. At this point the batter will look like scrambled eggs. This is OK.
In another bowl, beat the whites until soft peaks appear. Fold the lemon mixture into the whites. It will still look like scrambled eggs and will not combine completely.Slowly add the flour mixture by hand, folding well after each addition. The batter at this point, if you are using potato flour, will be extremely thick with no sign of the egg whites. If you use all purpose flour, the batter will not be nearly as thick.Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes at 400°, then lower the oven temperature to 300° and bake an additional 40 minutes.
Cool and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.You can serve with fresh fruit, or a mixture of crème fraiche and lemon curd.
For a printable recipe, click HERE.