Torta di Mandorle

Almond Cake

This simple cake is often served as a teatime treat in my area of Tuscany, although in some households it also graces the table at breakfast time, especially for special occasions. It is traditionally plain, but you could cover it with frosting or fill it with jelly, if you wish.


  • 1 cup blanched almonds or 1⅓ cups ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • grated peel of 1 lemon
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grind the almonds finely if required, then add the almond extract and mix together.
  2. Grease the cake pan thoroughly with some of the butter, then dust with flour.
  3. Melt the remaining butter in a small pan and allow it to cool. Sift the remaining flour into a large bowl, stir in the granulated sugar, almonds, and lemon peel.
  4. Mix in the eggs, melted butter, and liqueur. Beat the mixture thoroughly. Stir the cream of tartar and the baking soda into the milk, then pour this into the cake mixture and beat again.
  5. Pour the cake mixture into the prepared cake pan and bake in the oven for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out dry and clean. Serve warm or cold, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.