This is the cake recipe I make most often for Shabbat.
For centuries, Sephardic women soaked almonds and ground them in order to make almond cakes. But if I were to suggest a recipe that required grinding almonds by hand, I’m pretty sure 99% of our readers wouldn’t be bothered make it. And the truth is, that neither would I. Luckily for us, ground almond meal is readily available.
Perhaps because I am Moroccan, I love anything made with almonds. And I’m obsessed with the sweet, fragrant scent of orange blossom water.
This is the cake recipe I make most often for Shabbat. It’s an easy, one bowl recipe that doesn’t even require a mixer. Perhaps because I am Moroccan, I love anything made with almonds. And I’m obsessed with the sweet, fragrant scent of orange blossom water. It elevates the flavor of every and any dessert, whether it’s a sorbet, a cookie or a sponge cake. To be honest, orange blossom water is an acquired taste. If you are not a fan, no worries — adding the zest of a lemon or orange is the best grandma trick in the book. Try it in your cakes and you will notice your family smiling after the first bite.
You can easily adjust the flavor profile of this cake recipe by adding any combination of ingredients, such as vanilla extract, chocolate chips, cinnamon, dried fruit and chopped nuts. This past Shabbat, I decided I had way too many blueberries, so I kept the almond extract, added lemon zest and a cup of fresh blueberries. The combination was so bright and juicy. It was a major hit. No matter what else I include in the batter, I always like to keep the almond extract because it sends home the message — this is an almond cake! – Rachel
Orange Blossom Almond Cake Recipe
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 large orange, zested
1/2 cup coconut or avocado oil
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp orange blossom water
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and slowly add the sugar. Beat to a creamy consistency.
Add the oil and orange zest and mix well.
Add almond extract, orange blossom water and almond flour and mix to a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into a 9-inch cake tin lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle almonds over the top of the cake.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until cake is a golden color.
Let cool, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Sharon Gomperts and Rachel Emquies Sheff have been friends since high school. The Sephardic Spice Girls project has grown from their collaboration on events for the Sephardic Educational Center in Jerusalem. Follow them on Instagram @sephardicspicegirls and on Facebook at Sephardic Spice SEC Food.