Flour-less Meyer Lemon Cake

Last year, at a food conference at the CIA Greystone, I met a woman who is named The Saffron Queen.  Yes, you heard correctly, the Saffron Queen.  She was from Spain, spoke with an accent, and, if I recall correctly, she donned a navy blue beret the entire time she demonstrated her recipes.  I have tried to look her up… but cant seem to find very much information on her.  Regardless of whether she was a figment of my imagination or not, she made the most marvelous Flour-less Lemon muffins a gluten free girl has ever tried.

When I asked her if they were truly “flour-less” she said to me, in her thick Spanish tongue, ” you are celiac?”  I was shocked at her knowledge of the subject (not all American chefs understand what it means when I say I have celiac disease).  “This Majorcan cake only has 3 ingredients,” she proclaimed “Almond, Sugar, Eggs, and Lemon.”

After walking away (with 4 muffins in my purse for the road) I knew I had to find a recipe for this Majorcan cake.

After testing a variety of flourless almond cake recipes, here is my favorite:

Flour-less Meyer Lemon Cake

  • 1 1/3 cups blanched slivered almonds
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 large eggs, separated
  • 5 teaspoons packed grated meyer lemon peel
  • pinch of salt 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter and flour 9-inch-diameter cake pan with 1 1/2-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pan with waxed paper. Finely grind almonds with 2 tablespoons sugar in processor. Combine yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, lemon peel, and salt in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Stir in almond mixture. Using clean beaters, beat egg whites in large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add 4 tablespoons sugar, beating until stiff but not dry. Fold large spoonful of whites into almond mixture. Gently fold in remaining whites.

Transfer batter to pan. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Turn out onto platter. Remove waxed paper.

Originally published in Bon Appetit Magazine
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