Easy Yummy Lemon Almond Cake (and why I miss my kitchen)

Ciao Readers!

Today I am going to share a delicious lemon almond cake I recently baked (well, figuratively speaking).  A couple of weeks ago we were watching Nigella’s cooking show and the cake she was baking looked so good I had to immediately get off the sofa and go in the kitchen and bake it.  While this used to be an almost weekly occurrence back in Albuquerque (seeing something on a cooking show and then getting up to cook/bake it), this was the first time since arriving in Italy that I’ve tried it here.  The reasons being that back in Albuquerque, unlike here, 1) I had a pantry full of ingredients, 2) I had a kitchen in which I was inspired to cook, and, most importantly, 3) I could turn the oven on without fear of tripping the breakers (which happens here if the oven and anything else is on at the same time). (And, well, maybe also because I watched more t.v….)

In any case, the reason this cake is so delicious is because instead of flour, its base is entirely almond meal and polenta, and in addition to lemon zest in the cake, it is soaked after baking in fresh lemon syrup.  YUM!!!   While I didn’t have almond meal on hand, I did have almonds (and a hand immersion blender); and while not exactly “polenta,”  I still had an entire bag of corn meal I had bought at Vivi Market (foolishly thinking I would make my own corn tortillas).  I cannot say enough about how delicious this very easy to make cake comes out (recipe here); try it and impress your friends with a scrumptious Italy-inspired creation!  While I tried to plate it all fancy-like, the photo doesn’t do its flavor justice:

lemon almond cake

This photo is actually from the second time I baked the cake (today as I write, probably two weeks ago as you read).  I decided to bake the cake today, but forgot and started a load of laundry.  I have no idea why, especially since the machines here are tiny (it’s next to the stove, pictured), but it takes at least 2 hours for a load to finish.  I have to admit, I was feeling a little grumpy for those 2 hours – I am still having a hard time getting used to (and understanding why) our little “easy bake oven” takes up so much electricity that everything else has to be off in order to turn it on.  It’s weird – it takes more electricity than the washer, than the air-conditioner unit, and even than my hair dryer.  And it’s tiny – and all the coils don’t heat up (which all adds to why it’s not much fun to cook here).  Since I’m on a roll venting about my current kitchen – the counter space is also tiny and most of the cabinet space is too high to reach (and while the counter looks like granite or nice synthetic granite, it’s plastic).  The stove top is so small I had to take the back/lid off in order to fit more than one pan on at a time (still can’t fit 3 pans on at a time).  And, while intellectually I understand that these are small complaints and people all over the world would kill for my current kitchen and the food therein, I’m only human and that thought does not change the fact that I get bummed out cooking here:

present kitchen

On the other hand, this is a kitchen in which I am inspired to (and have, and will again) cook up a storm:


So, I suppose today’s lessons are 1) appreciate what you have when you have it, and 2) Nigella bakes good cake!  Have a nice weekend!

Leave a comment


  1. At least your ‘new’ mini kitchen is almost the same color-theme as the other? In my years here I’ve never been to Vivi yet, I def. have to make the trip! Buon fine-settimana!

    • Actually, while I still like Vivi, I have since found many of the same things for cheaper at the Asian and Central American little stall at mercato centrale – yams and cilantro and korean soup! Buone fine-settimana a te!

      • Thanks for the tip! I rarely go to the Mercato Centrale anymore either, but will have to swing by!

      • I had stayed away thinking it was a tourist trap, but there’s actually some great little finds (wrote a blog about it). And the lunch deal at the homey place in back is great!

  2. ric d

     /  February 10, 2013

    Yikes Hope! That has to have been quite an adjustment…but there are trade-offs of course!

    Buon domenica.


  3. Oh, that lemon almond cake… you’re killing me when you keep teasing me with it. Thanks for the suggestions on substitutes – I keep thinking perhaps I should buy one of those little hand-held drink blenders (you should have seen last week’s attempt to make hummus with a fork…); do you think it would do the trick for the almonds? Now that we [will soon] have a car I think I could justify the space in the backpack for this little extravagence. And I want to try this recipe… if I can find a morning when it’s under 90 degrees and I’m willing to turn on the oven.

    • Hey – you’re killing me back – 90 degrees?!?!?! Oh, what I wouldn’t give… trade you 100 cakes! (yeah, I think any blender would work – might be a bit course, but I like the cake with a little substance).

  1. Tutti a Tavola a Mangiare! (or why Lydia Bastianich is super cool) | New Mexico to Italy

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