If it weren’t for its name (and the fact it is usually prepared with a stenciled crucifix of confectioner’s sugar on top) it would be a great Passover cake as well. This is an easy, yet delicious cake:
Spanish Almond Cake (Tarta De Santiago)
240 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) white (or unbleached) sugar
3 large eggs, plus 3 large egg whites
¼ teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
250 grams (2½ cups) blanched almond flour (I ground whole almonds in a food processor for this)
35 grams (3 tablespoons) turbinado, demerara (or unbleached) sugar
37 grams (⅓ cup) sliced almonds, chopped
Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Mist the bottom and sides of a 9-inch round cake pan (preferably a spring-form) with cooking spray, line the bottom with a round of kitchen parchment, and the side with a strip of parchment paper, then mist the parchment.
In a large bowl, combine the white sugar, whole eggs and egg whites, salt and both extracts. Whisk vigorously until well combined, 30 to 45 seconds; the mixture will be slightly frothy and the sugar will not be fully dissolved. Add the almond flour and whisk until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then sprinkle evenly with the turbinado sugar and chopped almonds. Bake until deeply browned and the crust feels firm when gently pressed with a finger, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Run a knife around the edges of the cake, then invert onto a plate. Remove the pan and parchment then re-invert the cake onto a serving plate. Let cool completely before serving.
Tip: Don’t underbake the cake. Rather than use a skewer or toothpick to test the center for doneness, check the browning and crust development. The cake is ready when the surface is deeply browned and the crust feels firm when gently pressed