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Torta de Santiago (Spanish Almond Cake - Gluten-Free)

This recipe comes to us from Michele Rice.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind or orange rind
2 cups (½ pound) almonds with skins, finely ground. I either process the nuts in small batches in my food processor, or buy almond meal at a health food store (refrigerated section)
7 eggs, separated
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Chipped or slivered almonds for garnish
Powdered sugar and/or whipped cream for garnish

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Directions:
Cream sugar, lemon rind and egg yolks until the mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in the almonds and cinnamon. This mixture will be very dense. I do all of this in my food processor. With a mixer, beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not dry. Stir a few tablespoons of the egg white into the almond mixture, and then fold in the rest of the egg whites.

Pour into 2 greased 8 inch layer pans and bake @ 350F for 45 minutes or until the cake is well browned (Actually I use a large Corning ware type quiche pan and just use one layer).

You can remove the cakes from the pans and frost with a ½ pint of whipping cream, ¼ teaspoon sugar, whipped until stiff OR just serve it the traditional way with a sprinkling of powdered sugar on top. In Santiago, a cut-out of a medieval cross (The Cross of Santiago) is placed on the cake, and then the cake is sprinkled with powdered sugar. The cross template is then removed so that you have a brown cross on a field of powdered sugar. Any type of template works well for the design. You can use doilies, or quilting templates found in craft stores.

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