Monday, May 12, 2014

Santiago Cake

Yesterday was Mother's Day and despite the fact that Violet treated me to an early gift (gastro bug for her) we had a lovely day. We kept a low profile, given the aforementioned tummy trouble, but we did head to Bauer St. for a BBQ yesterday afternoon. I volunteered to make dessert and I decided on Santiago cake. Have you tried it? Well, let me tell you a little story about Santiago cake and how it almost became the cake that never was.

A couple of years ago Jeff bought Ferran Adria's cookbook entitled "The Family Meal". Sounds approachable, right? Wrong. I should have known that the granddaddy of molecular gastronomy wouldn't define family meal the same way I do. Pork belly? Polenta? Sardines? All yummy, and things I would love to try to cook at home, but on a weeknight? For a family meal? Forget about it. I make weeknight meals like fajitas or turkey burgers, and those are my fanciest offerings if I am being honest. Then again, I don't own the world's most highly regarded restaurant, so there you have it. Mr. Adria and I operate on different wavelengths. Anyway, Jeff loves this cookbook and frequently mentions how we should integrate poached salmon with two weird sauces (sofrito? picada?) into our weekly rotation. Any time you want to start making supper, my love, any old time. Anyway, I've sort of built up a secret disdain for this cookbook and I have been really hesitant to try any of the recipes.

Jeff has mentioned Santiago cake at least a dozen times over the last two years. My mum can't tolerate gluten and Santiago cake is gluten free. Better still, it is gluten free in a yummy way (almond flour) not in a weird, complicated way (xanthan gum). Despite this, I shrugged off the idea of making it every single time he brought it up. On Sunday I finally agreed to try Jeff's long anticipated cake and I admit it is delicious. Yes, Jeffrey, you read that right. It was so good! I should have made it years ago. Honestly. Equally importantly, the cake is so easy (okay, maybe The Family Meal is a decent title), it is basically almond flour, eggs, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest. It doesn't get much easier than that.

I imagine Europeans eat cake like this for breakfast (I stand to be corrected since I can count my experience with European breakfasts on two hands, but indulge me here). It is simple and understated, but somehow kind of classy. This cake doesn't have to try too hard. You know what I mean? Like, if you put it next to a big ol' donut or a cupcake with sky high icing it would be like those other desserts are trying too hard or something. I served the cake with fat, ripe raspberries and it was perfect. We had it with coffee after our first outdoor meal of the season. Really, it would have been hard to beat.

You should make this cake. Don't wait two years. Don't make the same mistake I did!

You can find the recipe for Santiago cake here. (Just fyi, the recipe says to grease the pan with butter and flour it, but all it did was grease the pan with coconut oil and line the pan with parchment paper and it worked).




  1. Looks so good....and elegant! Gotta love simple pleasures.

  2. totally, Joni! It almost feels healthy too!