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Lemon Torte

Lemon Torte

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.

Lemon Torte
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)

 Lemon Glaze
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.

Serves 10.

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  • Anonymous
    January 12, 2009

    Looks Great! I made a similar orange torte once, except it turned out quite wet. I’ll definitely try this one over the weekend!

  • Lucy C.
    January 12, 2009

    Nicole, I have a child that has a nut allergy so I can’t use almond meal. Do you think I could substitute it with either more all purpose or whole wheat flour? It looks delicious and light! Thanks!

  • Nicole
    January 12, 2009

    Lucy – You could use all purpose flour, but keep in mind that the cake will pretty much be a regular cake at that point. It won’t have the same type of texture as a cake made with almond meal will. It should still be tasty and lemony, though!

  • ttfn300
    January 12, 2009

    hmm, i wonder if fresh grapefruit juice would work as nicely… as i see alot of that in my future 🙂

  • mutritious nuffins
    January 13, 2009

    This photo made me want to melt! No doubt I will take this recipe and use my own gluten free flour mix for the all purpose flour. My family loves “lemon bread” and this is a refreshing take on a lemon baked good, except lovely in a different form.

  • Donna
    January 13, 2009

    This looks absolutely to die for. Love lemon anything. I havent seen anything like this one.. I am adding it to my to try list!!! Thank you!

  • snooky doodle
    January 13, 2009

    this looks delicious! almond and lemon are a great combo 🙂 thanks for this nice recipe!

  • lisa (dandysugar)
    January 13, 2009

    I’m really loving all the lemony treats out there right now! Love the addition of almond meal. Actually, I have lots of hazlenut meal on hand at the moment. Could be a good experiment! Great recipe!

  • Jenn's Baking Chamber
    January 14, 2009

    Yum, I love the flavor of lemon treats and that torte looks delicious. I will definitely have to make these for my friend Paul who loves anything lemon. Thanks for the recipe! can’t wait to try it!

  • Gretchen Noelle
    January 14, 2009

    This sounds really tasty. I may try it with orange or lime as we have no lemons.

  • Laura
    January 15, 2009

    Sounds really good . i am gonna make it on Saturday

  • Sara
    January 16, 2009

    Yum, this sounds tasty. I love lemons and nuts in my baked goods, this sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  • Brit
    January 20, 2009

    I’m in the middle of baking this right now. It baked very quickly!! My oven is at 350, but it was done in 25 minutes. I noticed a really “done” smell and checked it early.

  • Betsy
    January 22, 2009

    I’ve made this cake twice in the past week and it is so good and so easy to make. I love it.

  • Sarah
    May 13, 2009

    This was delicious! Everyone loved it. My icing was a little thick though…not sure why!

  • rolex replica
    March 25, 2010

    thank you

  • 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.

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