Passover Almond Cake
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) round cake; serves 6 to 8
Bocca di dama, which translates as “mouth of a lady,” is a fluffy, delicate sponge cake made with almond flour and eggs. Since it doesn’t contain wheat flour and it doesn’t rely on baking powder for rising, it’s generally considered a classic Passover dessert, but it’s absolutely delightful year-round as well, and it’s gluten-free too.
6 large (300 g) eggs, separated, plus
2 large (60 g) egg whites
2 cups (220 g) almond flour or finely ground almonds
1½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
Sliced almonds for sprinkling
For the Icing
2⁄3 cup (80 g) confectioners’ sugar
2 large (60 g) egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line the bottom of a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan with parchment paper.
To make the cake, in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the 6 (180 g) egg whites on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until stiff peaks form.
In another large bowl, using the handheld mixer (no need to clean the beaters), beat together the almond flour or ground almonds, egg yolks, granulated sugar, and the remaining 2 (60 g) egg whites on medium speed until well combined, about 5 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the beaten egg whites into the almond mixture until just combined, then scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until golden; a wooden skewer inserted into the center should come out clean. If the top of the cake starts to brown too fast, cover it loosely with foil.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the pan and gently remove the springform ring. Let cool completely.
In a small skillet, toast the sliced almonds over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until just browned. Remove from the heat and let cool.
To prepare the icing, in a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, whip the confectioners’ sugar with the egg whites on high speed to make a light, glossy icing.
Preheat the broiler (or use a kitchen torch).
Cover the cake with the icing, then sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Place the cake under the broiler for 3 to 5 minutes, until the top of the cake is golden (or use the kitchen torch). Let cool.
Lift the cake carefully from the bottom of the springform pan and peel off the parchment paper, then transfer to a serving plate.
The frosted cake keeps well in the fridge, wrapped in aluminum foil, for a couple of days. If left unfrosted, the cake keeps well at room temperature for up to a week.
Excerpted from Cooking alla Giudia by Benedetta Jasmine Guetta (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2018. Photographs by Ray Kachatorian.
Benedetta Jasmine Guetta is an Italian food writer and photographer. She was born in Milan, but lives in Santa Monica, California. In 2009, she cofounded a website called Labna, the only Jewish/Kosher cooking blog in Italy, specializing in Italian and Jewish cuisine. Since then, she has been spreading the word about the marvels of Italian Jewish food in Italy and abroad. Her work has been featured in numerous news outlets in Italy and abroad, including The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Elle à Table, Saveur, and Tablet. Cooking alla Giudia is her first English-language cookbook and a 2022 National Jewish Book Award Winner.