Almond Lattice Cake (Imotska Torta) – made with thin crust and rich almond filling with amazing taste of oranges, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Almond Lattice Cake – also known as Imotski Cake (named by a small Croatian town of Imotski). It is made with thin crust and rich almond filling with amazing taste of oranges, lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg. It is quite similar to Italian Almond Crostata (Crostata di Mandorle) which is probably its’ origin. The recipe I’m sharing with you has been perfected in my family through three generations.
Many people are somewhat apprehensive and don’t dare to make this cake. To be honest, this is not an easy cake to make. There are two main things you have to pay attention to. First is amount of spices and second is baking procedure. The spices should be well balanced so that non of them stands out ant overtake others. It take some practice learn how to keep them in harmony.
Baking is also quite tricky. The cake should be placed in hot oven, but then temperature needs to be lowered immediately. Since the filling consists mostly of eggs, sugar and almonds (no flour), the cake should be baked on low temperature to dry out, similar to various meringue crusts. Baking time varies greatly from oven to oven, also depending on the height of the cake. It will probably take 60-70 minutes for the cake to bake, sometimes even more. The tricky part is that you can’t tell when the cake is baked. It can change color when it is still raw in the middle. Skewer test will not help you either, because the filling is soft even after baking. The only thing that helps you is experience – you bake it several times until you master the skill.
I know, it sounds like I’m talking you out of making this cake, but I’m not. I just want to warn you so that you’re not disappointed if things don’t go as you planed the first time you try it. Good thing is that even if you miss spices measurement or cooking time, it will still be eatable, just not as perfect as you might desire.
I made Almond Lattice Cake many times and have developed a feeling for measuring spices correctly. On the other hand, baking time is something I’m still working on.
All in all, it worth trouble to make Almond Lattice Cake because it is different then any other dessert you’ve ever tried. Everybody who tastes it falls in love with it!
- 240 g (8.5 oz or about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 120 g (1 stick + 1 tsp or 1/2 cup) butter
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tsp sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a pinch of baking powder
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp rum
- 1 Tbsp sour cream
- 1/4 cup water (or less)
- peeled almonds, cut into halves (for decoration)
- 3-4 knobs butter
- 4 eggs, whole
- 400 g (2 cups) sugar
- 400 g (14 oz) almonds, ground
- zest from 1 orange and 1/2 lemon
- 1 Tbsp dark rum
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- a pinch of nutmeg
CRUST: Place flour, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, baking powder, vanilla, rum and sour cream into a bowl. Knead to make a soft dough, adding water little by little, as necessary. Roll it out the dough and place it into 27 cm (10 inch) round tart pan (there is no need to butter the pan or use baking paper), pressing gently to fit. Let some dough hang over the edges. Put filling inside. Cut off excess dough.
Knead cut-off dough together to form a ball. Roll it out into a thin circle. Cut the circle with a pastry wheel into 1/2 inch strips. Place strips over the dough to form lattice. Poke each intersection of strips with a tooth pick to form a small hole. Insert an almond half into each hole. Place knobs of butter over the top of the cake.
FILLING: Mix eggs with sugar for about 2 minutes or until frothy. Add orange and lemon zest, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the end, add ground almonds to get thick mixture.
BAKING: Place the cake in 175 C (350 F) hot oven, then immediatly lower the temperature to 150 C (120 F). Bake for about 60-70 minutes. If cake starts browning too quickly, cover with aluminum foil or baking paper to prevent it from burning.
Let cool completely. Serve lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar.
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