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International desserts for the Winter Olympics: Mexican almond sponge cake

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As the eyes of the world turn to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics and we witness some of the finest athletes in the world compete in their chosen sport, there is no need to be watching on an empty stomach! As the world gathers in Sochi, Russia, we bring the world together in the kitchen and celebrate international diversity with some classic world famous desserts!

Almost all cultures have their own version of various nut cakes (no political pun intended) but what I love best about this one from Mexico, is it's lightness, slight crunchy texture and it contains brandy!

Because of its lightness, this really does make for a great dessert to end one of your festive dinners. I would not recommend serving this with ice cream or topped with freshly whipped cream, as the moisture from the topping would diminish the texture of the cake. You can top it, however, with some fresh berries!

Due to the fact this cake is baked in a rather slow oven (meaning low temperature) it does take awhile. You want the slow oven to achieve the proper lightness and texture. As you may have guessed from looking at the ingredients, it is a rather delicate cake (actually more along the lines of a pastry) so you'll want to be careful when handling it.

Ingredients needed to make Mexican Almond Sponge Cake (makes 1 cake):

  • 2 cups almonds
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 Tbs. flour
  • 1 tbs. brandy
  • ½ tsp. almond extract

Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325. Line the bottom of a springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Into a food processor or blender add the almonds and grind until fine. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat the egg white until soft peaks form. Add the salt and beat until stiff peaks form. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk the almonds, sugar, baling powder and flour until combined.
  5. Fold the almond mixture into the eggs.
  6. Into the batter stir in the brandy and almond extract.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  8. Place in oven and bake 1 ¼ hours or until a tester comes out clean.
  9. Let cool in pan 10 minutes. Very carefully remove the cake from the pan and place on serving plate.

The internationally bestselling cookbook from Chef Larry Edwards, "Edwardian Cooking: 80 Recipes Inspired by Downton Abbey's Elegant Meals," is now in it's third printing and available worldwide in both hard cover and e-book versions. The paperback version will be released March 4, 2014.

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