A torte is a type of rich cake that is made with little or no flour, instead replacing it with ground nuts or something similar. Tortes can be sliced and layered with frosting or jam, but I like them best as simple, single-layer cakes. They’re easy to make, satisfying to eat and are the kind of cake that keeps well for several days – meaning that they’re a great treat to make at home and enjoy with afternoon tea day after day. This isn’t to say that the cake wouldn’t be a fine finish for a dinner party, just that you shouldn’t need an excuse to try this one out.
This is a simple lemon torte that uses lots of fresh lemon juice in both the cake and the accompanying glaze. This cake is so simple that you really need to use fresh lemon juice, as opposed to bottled juice, to get the best result. The very moist cake has a mellow lemon flavor throughout and would be good, if a bit plain, on its own. A small amount of zesty, lemony glaze is poured over the cake while it is still warm and it is this finishing touch that makes the cake bright and memorable.
This torte is not the flourless variety, but it does use ground almonds (or almond meal) in with the flour. The almonds help give the cake a dense crumb, but very light and tender texture. I prefer to buy almond meal already ground and keep it on hand, when I can. You can grind the almonds yourself by pulsing them in a food processor until very fine, adding a teaspoon or so of cornstarch to help keep the almonds powdery and prevent the nuts from overprocessing into a nut butter.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup ground almonds/almond meal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 tbsp lemon zest
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (2-3 lemons)
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round cake pan (or springform pan) and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat in lemon zest.
Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by half of the lemon juice. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture, then the rest of the lemon juice and the rest of the flour. Stir only until no streaks of flour remain and batter is uniform. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool pan in cake for 15 minutes.
While the cake cools, whisk all glaze ingredients in a small bowl until smooth. Pour over cake, then let cake cool completely in pan.