Sara de almendra

Sara de almendra

By
From
Catalonia
Makes
16
Photographer
Laura Edwards

To be honest, I have no idea where the name Sara comes from in this recipe name. Even my friend Enric doesn’t really know (although there are different versions), and this cake has been in his patisserie in Barcelona for almost 100 years!

I just fell in love with these when I tried them. You know when you try a new food and it brings back good memories? This is what happened to me with Sara de almendra. They remind me of the bread and butter with plenty of sugar that my mum, Isabel, used to give me after school when I was a child – which tasted better than it sounds! Of course these cakes are far more yummy.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

for the cake

Quantity Ingredient
6 eggs
180g caster sugar
150g plain flour
2 tablespoons cornflour
2 tablespoons almond flour
1/2 a lemon, zested
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
200g toasted flaked almonds, to decorate

for the buttercream

Quantity Ingredient
185g caster sugar
125g egg yolks
250g unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

for the sugar syrup

Quantity Ingredient
100g caster sugar
70ml anise or any aniseed-flavoured liqueur

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and flour a 30 × 20 cm rectangular cake tin.
  2. For the cake, beat the eggs and sugar together until light and fluffy and leaving a ribbon trail in the mixture. In a separate bowl, sift the flours together then fold them into the egg mixture a little at a time. Fold in the lemon zest and baking powder.
  3. Carefully pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 20– 25 minutes until risen and golden. Cool for 10 minutes in the tin then turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the buercream, put the sugar and 75 ml of water in a pan and melt over a low heat. Bring to the boil and cook until you reach short thread stage, 114°C on a sugar thermometer. Put the egg yolks into a stand mixer and beat as you pour in the hot sugar syrup. Keep beating until the mixture has cooled completely. Gradually beat in the softened butter and vanilla until you have a thick, glossy butter icing.
  5. Melt the sugar and anise together and bubble until you have a thin syrup. Allow to cool.
  6. Trim off any uneven edges of the cake, then cut into to 9 × 2 cm rectangular portions. Briefly dip the tops of each cake into the sugar syrup then place on a wire rack. Spread the butter icing over the top and sides of the cake, coat in toasted flaked almonds and serve.
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