Ingredients:2 cups plain wheat flour
2/3 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (coarse produced crunchy bits, a medium grind may be better)
2/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1 cup almonds, chopped
1 cup caster sugar or baker's sugar
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 cup butter, cubed, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp vanilla extract
sifted icing or powdered sugar for dusting
- Heat the oven to 350ºF and grease a 10 in round or square cake pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine the plain wheat flour, the two cornmeals, plus the almonds, sugar and lemon zest.
- Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla extract together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the eggs. Give it a brief stir, then quickly finish working the dry ingredients into the wet using your hands to give a solid, pastry-like dough. Do not knead the dough; work it until it only just comes together.
- Press the dough into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface over a little but leave it dimpled as this will enhance the crumbly texture. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the top is just starting to brown. Leave the cake to cool in the pan. Dust with sifted icing sugar and break into chunks to serve.
- Serves 4-6 (way more of us were able to contentedly eat this)
- This cake is traditionally smashed in the center to be devoured in crumbling chunks with sticky wines or grappa.
- Hazelnuts are sometimes used in place of, or in conjunction with, the almonds.
- For extra shortness (to make more like a shortbread, which this highly resembles), replace half the butter with the same quantity of lard.
- You can use only finely ground cornmeal. The texture of your cornmeal with influence the cake. My kids did not like the crunchiness of the cake with a coarse cornmeal.
- Be careful that the cake is not too thick. It should be about 1 – 1 1/2 inches deep in the pan. If it is thicker, the cake will become scone-like. You can shape the excess into balls and bake as cookies. The cookies only need about 20 minutes to bake.
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