North of Spain is my huge passion. My first trip to Spain took me to discover the Basque country, Cantabria, Asturias and finally, Galicia. I fell in love with the Cantabrian Sea, with the tapas from the Basque country and the pine trees on the Asturian beach. On top of it I had the privilege to spend some days in Galicia. A birthplace to numerous explorers, exquisite food producers and proud Galicians. To get you in the mood and transmit some of the positive enegry and pride Galician people will inspire in you, enjoy the following promo for the biggest supermarket chain in Galicia, Gadis. Every time I see it it makes me feel proud though I was not born and raised in that part of Spain. Enjoy it!
Galicia is famous for its homemade fruit brandy (orujo) and seafood. I mean, who hasn’t tried the octopus and Padron peppers once travelling through Galicia?! Before getting to the core of this topic I would like to share some of the most memorable recipe pages that include Santiago cake and honour it. One of the most splendid food bloggers and home-made food enthusiast, Javier, dedicates a special entry of his blog to the Santiago almond cake. Extraordinary.
Baking mad is a web page presented by Billington’s sugar brand and offers a fan of recipes to try and inspire. Their almond Santiago cake does not stand behind. Baking mad it is. A page worth discovering!
A beautifully written blog entry on the Santiago cake in the following website. I am so glad I have googled it! Will be back for more detailed reading.
And a site dedicated to premium Spanish food and gastronomy. Neat and organised with a nice version of this splendid almond cake. Dive in, I am sure this will not be the only recipe to make you want to bake more often 😀
And now to the real deal. One of many excellent things about the Spanish food is the simplicity of the ingredients. Basic and extremely high quality. The Spanish really pay attention to preserving their traditions and honouring their origins. The recipe I decided to follow comes from my Spanish culinary bible, Un paseo gastronómico por España (Ullmann&Könemann). It looks basic but believe me-on a rainy Galician day “basic” becomes a synonym of hearty and comforting. As it is this cake. Packed with taste, quality local ingredients and rich smells filling every last corner of the house. Let it rain!
For this cake you need to prepare two different doughs: the base and the filling. For the base you mix together the following ingredients:
75 grams crystal sugar
200 grams flour
100 grams melted butter
Once you mix it well, cover a pie or cake tray wit it, the bottom and the rim. Then proceed to mix the ingredients of the filling:
180 grams sugar
lemon zest to taste (I used 1 eco lemon)
400 grams finely ground almonds (I did not peel or soak them and the cake turned out to be a huge success. I guess people from Galicia never did complicate that much about peeling or soaking their basic ingredients. Thumbs up big time!)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
You fill the first layer with the almond stuffing and bake it at 180°C for approx. 30 minutes till golden brown. You might want to wait a bit till taking it out of the tray so the icing sugar does not melt when you decorate the cake, but meanwhile you can entertain yourself preparing the Santiago sword/cross stencil, so the cake looks like a real Santiago cake. That is what you signed up for anyway, right? 😉 Here is a page which might help you with cutting you own paper stencil.
I would honestly like to encourage you to begin exploring (if by now you have not been familiarized by Galician cuisine) the gastronomy from Northern Spain. It will thrill you. It will fill your mouth with water and superlatives. And it will certainly change your point of view about comfort food. Galician comfort food has never included potato chips and pizzas. Google for empanada, tarta de Santiago or pulpo a la gallega etc. and you will know what I am talking about. Welcome to the tastes of my future home for when I retire. Galicia.