Posts Tagged ‘Italian’

Italian lemon cake

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010


This cake has a firm, unusual texture, somewhat reminiscent of a scone. Fragrant with lemon and not too sweet, it can be dunked in coffee for a wonderfully self-indulgent breakfast. You could also serve it after a meal with a sweetish wine like a muscat or just enjoy a slice with a cup of tea.

This is my version of the recipe for ciambella given by Marcella Hazan in her Second Classic Italian Cookbook. I veganised it by replacing the eggs in the original recipe by a ripe pear. Instead of butter, I used a mixture of cashew paste and groundnut oil.

What makes this cake rise so satisfactorily is the cream of tartar, an ingredient that used to be common in the UK but which I tried without success to track down last time I was in London. However, a quick google suggests it should be available from the big supermarkets.

500 g (1lb 2oz) plain or wheatmeal flour
2½ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
120 g (4oz) cane sugar
A pinch of salt
3 tbs cashew (or almond) paste
4 tbs groundnut oil
The grated zest of a lemon (preferably organic)
A very ripe pear (or 150 g of unsweetened stewed pear or apple)
1 tsp soya milk (or other plant milk)
1 tsp agave syrup

Preheat the oven to 190°C (Gas 5). Line a baking tray with silicone paper.

Combine the flour, cream of tartar, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

In a small saucepan, melt the cashew or almond paste with the oil over a very low heat. Pour into the flour mixture and stir well. Add the lemon zest, the peeled and cored pear, and enough water to give the consistency of pastry. Knead lightly.

Roll the dough between your hands to form a "sausage" about 30 cm long. Place it on the baking tray and pinch the two ends together to form a circle.

In a small bowl, whisk the plant milk and agave syrup together with a fork and brush the cake with this mixture.

Ciambella avant cuisson

Bake the cake for about 30 minutes, or until well risen and golden brown. Slide it gently onto a cooling rack and leave until completely cold before slicing. It tastes even better the next day.