Author pho­to by Ray Kachatorian

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

23 cup (80 g) con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar

2 large (60 g) egg whites

Excerpt­ed from Cook­ing alla Giu­dia by Benedet­ta Jas­mine Guet­ta (Arti­san Books). Copy­right © 2018. Pho­tographs by Ray Kachatorian.

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.