Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Italian Lemon Almond Cake

Call me sentimental, folks, but I think there’s something downright romantic about the way all those bright oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and limes show up in the produce aisles just when we’re needing them most.  When the wind is whipping and we haven’t seen green grass since I don’t know when, who couldn’t use a little warm weather fling to reminder them of warm, sunnier times?

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No matter if stirred into a salsa, or baked under a fluffy layer of meringue, these seasonal beauties remind me of how much I long for the sunshine, and so I do my best to incorporate citrus fruits into our diet and our lives whenever the opportunity presents itself.   I would never turn away from the kiss of citrus.

This grain-free lemon cake (also known as Torta Caprese Bianca) is just perfection in my mind.  I would like to say it is “to die for”, but that phrase is so over-worked, that I won’t use it, but you get my meaning, I’m sure.

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The cake is made with almond flour and is full of lemon flavor!  It’s yellow, like a ray of sunshine, a happy color.  Just the thing to cheer you up as this winter weather drags on endlessly.  If you love lemon, this is a dessert you will love.  There are three sources of lemon flavor;  lots of lemon zest, lemon extract, and limoncello ( or lemon juice).

After baking it may look a bit underdone in the middle, that’s what gives the cake its dense texture.  When you remove it from the oven it will be puffed up, but slowly sinks as it cools. It that doesn’t suit you, you can bake it a tad longer.  I loved the edges of the cake–kind of crispy and kind of chewy!   The texture reminds me of marzipan, but with the flavor of lemon.   We loved this cake so much, Mr. D. is asking when I’m going to make it again (his favorite flavor is lemon.)

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 ITALIAN LEMON ALMOND CAKE

Yield:   Serves 8 – 10

Ingredients:

  • 320 Gm (about 1 1/2 cups) almond flour, or blanched almonds ground into flour
  • 200 Gm ( a little over a cup) white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate chips)IMG_9198
  • 2 Tbsp. cream or milk
  • 180 Gm butter, softened     1 stick + 4.5 Tbsp.
  • 130 Gm granulated sugar    about 1 cup
  • zest of 2-3 lemons,  2 Tbsp.
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1 tsp. lemon extract
  • 40 Gm (about 2 Tbsp.) limoncello or lemon juice
  • powdered sugar for garnish

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Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Grease a 10-inch round pan ( a spring-form pan is good) and line it with parchment paper.

2.  Combine the white chocolate and cream/milk in a microwave-safe bowl.  Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until melted and smooth.  Set aside to cool.

3.  In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and 100 Gm sugar (3/4 cup) until fluffy.

4.  Add egg yolks, lemon zest and extract and beat to combine.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

Add eggs, zest and extract.

5.  Add almond flour and melted chocolate.  Add limoncello and beat to combine.

6.  In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks,  slowly adding remaining 1/4 cup (30 Gm) sugar.  Fold into almond batter and combine gently.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Beat whites to soft peaks.

Spoon into pan and bake for 40 – 45 minutes.

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A toothpick is not a reliable test for doneness, as the center may still be moist.  The cake should be golden brown, puffed, and spring back when touched.  As it cools it will sink in the center a bit.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

Baked when golden brown and springs back when touched.

7.  When cool, invert onto a cake plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

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Note:  This recipe can be halved easily.  What you see here in my photos is half a recipe.  To bake the smaller volume, use a 7-inch round cake pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Unfortunately I do not have a 7-inch round pan, so I used an 8-inch cake pan, thus my cake is thinner than it should be.  A 7-inch pan will give you a taller cake.

P.S.  I will love this cake in any size 🙂

SOURCE:  Texanerin Baking

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Coconut Lime Scones

Coconut Lime Scones

Coconut Lime Scones

By now it’s no secret how much I like coconut, and I have been having a craving that just won’t quit.  Just when I think I’ve reached the end of my coconut obsession, another recipe pops up,  I start to salivate, and then you know what happens….I bake!

 

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I’m head over heels for coconut and seem to have gone bonkers for it.  I just hope you are not bored by the number of recipes I’ve  posted that contain coconut, because here is another one. These scones contain a match-up of coconut with lime and they are incredibly good.  Their texture is not quite as crumbly as some scones, leaning more toward cake-like, but served warm from the oven, plain or with raspberry jam they are perfect.  You can also serve them for dessert with fresh strawberries or coconut sorbet for a special treat.  My idea for dressing them up was to make a glaze from confectioners’ sugar and lime juice .    I hope you enjoy these scones.

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You will note that the recipe calls for heavy cream in the dough and for brushing the tops.  I thought that with the butter they contain, more fat from the cream was not needed, so I substituted buttermilk and still got a very tender scone.  Since these are made primarily in the food processor, you must be careful not to over-process the dough or the scones will not be tender.  If the dough seems wet, that’s OK, work in extra flour by kneading lightly on a floured surface.

Ingredients:

  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1  1/2 cups unsweetened coconut
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold butter, cut into chunks
  • zest of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream (or buttermilk)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cream for brushing tops

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425*F. and prepare a baking sheet by lining with parchment paper or silicon mat.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, coconut, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Pulse it together just to mix.  Add the cold butter and pulse until the butter has been cut into the floor and you have a coarse crumb. Add the lime juice and about 2/3’s of the zest and pulse.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the 1/2 cup cream (or buttermilk) and egg.  Add it to the mixture and pulse until you have a dough that comes together but is still crumbly and wet.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and using the extra flour, work it into the dough and pat the dough into a round disc. Using a floured knife cut into 8 wedges.

Brush tops of the scones with the 1-2 tablespoons cream (or buttermilk).  Bake for 10 minutes until slightly golden around the edges.  Let the scones cool for a few minutes and firm up before removing them from the pan.  While they are cooling, make the glaze.

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In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar  and lime juice   Whisk together to get a thin glaze.  Drizzle over the tops of the warm scones and sprinkle with remaining zest.

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SOURCE:   adapted from a recipe by Heathercristo. com

 

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

Staying with the subject of citrus fruits I thought I would include this simple little recipe–which hardly needs a recipe at all to make, but maybe some of you have never given a thought to heating up or broiling grapefruit.  When my children were small I would cut grapefruits in half, section them, sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar, and place under the broiler until the sugar melted and became a little browned.  Before serving I would place a whole maraschino cherry in the center.  They loved it.  We had it for breakfast, but who’s to say you couldn’t have it as a dessert as well.

My recipe today is very similar to that described above, with just a few more ingredients.   These grapefruit halves are topped with a spiced brown sugar, caramelized under the broiler then topped with a dollop of vanilla infused whipped cream.  It seems more appropriate as a dessert because of the cream on it;  but there’s no right or wrong way to have it.  What’s important is that you get as much citrus as you can  into your diet while it’s so plentiful.  It is one of the best sources of Vitamin C. and also a good source of Vitamin A.

These grapefruit were so juicy, and sweet.  I used cardamom as the spice mixed with the brown sugar and it gave an interesting flavor to the grapefruit.  I made enough of the cream/yogurt mixture to keep some in the refrigerator so that I can make these quickly whenever we want them.  I think they would be great served for  brunch, too.

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BROWN SUGAR BROILED GRAPEFRUIT

SERVINGS    4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 red or pink grapefruit
  • 8 teaspoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons melted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons nonfat or low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.  Position oven rack about 3 inches below the heat source;  preheat broiler.  Line a rimmed baking pan with foil.

2.  Cut each grapefruit in half, then trim a thin slice off the bottom so it sits level.  With a paring knife, or grapefruit knife, cut around each segment, remove any seeds.  Place the grapefruit halves in the prepared pan.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon (or cardamom) in a small bowl.  Brush each half with melted butter, then sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons of the sugar mixture.

Brushed with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar.

Brushed with butter and sprinkled with brown sugar.

3.  Broil the grapefruit, watching carefully and rotating the pan once halfway through, until the tops are bubbling and golden brown, 7 to 12 minutes.

After broiling.

After broiling.

4.  Meanwhile beat the cream in a small bowl until stiff.  Beat in yogurt, granulated sugar and vanilla just until combined.  Serve each grapefruit topped with a heaping tablespoon of the vanilla cream.

Top grapefruit with vanilla cream.

Top grapefruit with vanilla cream.

SOURCE:   EatingWell.com

Maple Soy Salmon with Roast Cauliflower

Maple-Soy Salmon

Maple-Soy Salmon

Since I went  a little hog-wild at the supermarket and purchased a lot of different forms of citrus fruits, now I’m in the situation of trying to use them in as many ways as possible.  Eating them peeled and sectioned “out of hand” and in fruit salads is a given.  A tangerine, a Mineola, or a clementine  make a quick snack any time.  I’ve already shared with you my recipe for Lemon Cream Squares here, so this week I will be featuring recipes that contain other forms of citrus.

Roast Cauliflower with Clementines, Cranberries, and Pistachios

Roast Cauliflower with Clementines, Cranberries, and Pistachios

One of the recent dinners I made was this one, Soy Maple Salmon with Roast Cauliflower.  Even  though you see no mention of a citrus in the title it’s there none the less, in both the salmon part and the cauliflower.  We thought this meal was fabulous and one that I want to repeat again soon.  During this season when seafood is also plentiful, I try to prepare a fish item at least once per week.  The total calories for these two items is under 400 calories, and only 18 Gm. Carbohydrate.  There is a bargain of goodness in this meal any way you look at it.

In planning my time to prepare this meal I found that if I roasted the cauliflower and made a salad while the salmon was marinating, I could then pop the salmon in the hot oven, finish the cauliflower dish and dress the  salad.

SOY-MAPLE SALMON

SERVINGS:    4

Marinating the salmon.

Marinating the salmon.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2  Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 4   4-5 ounce salmon fillets

1.   Mix all the ingredients (except salmon) plus  2 Tablespoons water in a large bowl or zip-lock baggie.  Add the salmon and turn to coat.  Allow this to marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.

2.   When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400*F.   Coat a rimmed pan with cooking spray.  Drain the fish, season with salt and pepper and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until slightly golden and beginning to crisp around the edges, 8 – 10 minutes.  The salmon should be moist, and flake easily with a fork.

Note:  Salmon will be baked after cauliflower at a lower oven temperature.

ROAST CAULIFLOWER WITH CLEMENTINES, CRANBERRIES AND PISTACHIOS

SERVINGS:   4

INGREDIENTS

Cauliflower brushed with oil and ready for the oven.

Cauliflower brushed with oil and ready for the oven.

  • 1 small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch slabs
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 clementines, zested and segmented
  • 2 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 2 Tablespoons whole or chopped pistachios
  • 1 teaspoon zest from clementines
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1.    Preheat oven to 450*F.  Arrange cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet in a single layer and brush with 2 Tablespoons olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast, flipping once, about half way through cooking time, until tender and a little charred at edges, about 25 minutes.

Cauliflower after roasting.

Cauliflower after roasting.

2.  Transfer to a serving platter with clementine segments and cover with foil to keep warm.  Turn down oven heat to 400*F to cook salmon.

3.  In a small saucepan, heat the remaining 1 Tablespoon olive oil, add the cranberries, pistachios, clementine zest, and a little salt and pepper to taste. Stir to heat through.  When ready to serve, drizzle over the cauliflower and clementines.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.

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This dinner entree is a mash-up of two recipes that I put together with some major modifications.

SOURCES:   Salmon:   Food Network Magazine;   Cauliflower:  Whole Living Magazine