Once I was invited to an End of the World Party. Guests were encouraged to partake in whatever sorts of activities they’d want to spend their last hours on earth doing. I showed up with ingredients for four different recipes, a bottle of good champagne, and some great tequila. To me, these “last hours on earth” were all about indulging in the finest food and spirits. For others at the party, like Kenneth* who wore nothing but a speedo and red high heels, they were about (cough) something else.
Oddly enough, someone at the party accused me of using cooking as a way to resist “connecting” with others. I wanted to hold his face in my hands and look into his glitter-lined eyes and say, “Oh sweetie, don’t you realize that a chef is never lonely?” A kitchen can be the size of a kleenex box and if something delicious is happening, everyone will be standing in it.
But maybe he was calling me out on something: Food mattered more to me than the dance party or the guided-meditation-slash-jam-session with well-meaning strangers–and it was evident to others. I spent only a very modest amount of time worrying about it, however, because the celebration I had with myself, Don Julio and this cake was all I needed to sail into eternity with a smile. Stay tuned for the gluten-free version, as this post was originally published before the realization that changed my life.
- 2 Tbsp. grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp. matzo cake meal (I use finely ground matzo meal since I’ve never found matzo “cake” meal. It works like a charm. Or sub almond meal, available at Trader Joes, very finely ground)
- 4 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 1 cup maple sugar
- 1/4 cup matzo cake meal
- 1 1/2 tsp. water
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup almonds, coarsely ground
- 1 cup [url href=”http://thedeliciousthings.com/lemon-curd/” target=”_blank”]lemon curd[/url]
- 2 cups of your favorite fresh berries (why not try raspberry, blackberry and blueberries mixed?)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Grease a 9-inch springform pan by rubbing with a paper towel dipped in grapeseed oil. Dust pan with 2 teaspoons matzo cake meal.
- Place the egg yolks in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at high speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating until thick and pale (about 1 minute). Add 1/4 cup matzo cake meal, water, lemon zest, fresh lemon juice, and salt; beat just until blended. Fold in the almonds.
- Place egg whites in a large bowl. Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites with a mixer at high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg whites into egg yolk mixture; fold in remaining egg whites. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
- Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Run a knife around edge of cake. Remove cake from pan. Cool completely. (Cake will sink in center as it cools.) Spread 1 cup Lemon Curd in center of cake, and top with berries. Cut cake into wedges using a serrated knife.
- Serve right away, as this cake is delicious fresh, but gets too moist from the curd when it sits for a long time.
*Names have been changed to protect the wicked and the naughty. I’ll bet they wouldn’t hesitate to go do something delicious right this minute!