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Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake - Torta alle Mandorle e Limoni

Serves 8



3  large lemons, washed and left whole  (Meyer lemons preferred)

2 3/4  cups finely ground blanched or sliced almonds

    Chef’s note:  The easiest way to measure the almonds is by weight.  You will need 3/4 of a   pound or 300 grams.  Three 1/4 pound packages makes the task even easier.

1 1/2  cups sugar

6  eggs, separated

2  teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Confectioner's sugar

9-inch spring form pan, buttered, lined with buttered parchment paper and set aside.


1 cup or more of confectioner’s sugar

1/2  teaspoon fiore di Sicilia extract

! few drops of milk


2  medium size lemons, thinly sliced and seeds removed

1  cup sugar

1  cup water

Coarse white sugar for dipping slices


Place lemons in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook just under the boil for about 45 minutes.  Drain and when cool, trim the ends, cut them in half widthwise and remove the seeds.  Chop the lemons and place in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the sugar and process until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a fine mesh strainer set over and a bowl and strain the lemon mixture.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Divide blanched peeled almonds into three batches and whirl them in a food processor until they are powdered.  Combine the batches and set them aside.

Beat the egg yolks and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until they are pale yellow and frothy looking, and then beat in the drained lemon mixture and the powdered almonds.  Stir in the salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the whites into soft peaks.  Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture and pour the batter into the pan.  

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry.  Be careful not to let the cake brown too much; it should be golden brown.

Cool slightly then release sides of the spring pan, remove the sides, and let the cake cool.  Dust it with confectioner's sugar and serve with the candied lemon slices.  Or make a confectioner’s glaze with:

Mix all until the glaze consistency forms then spread over cooled cake; add several candied lemon slices and some sprigs of mint for garnish.

Combine sugar and water in a 12 inch or larger skillet and heat until sugar dissolves and  mixture looks clear.  Add the lemon slices in single layers (use two pans if necessary) and  simmer gently until liquid is reduced, turns syrupy and lemons look glazed.

Transfer lemon slices with tongs to a lightly oiled rack to cool slightly; when cool enough to handle dip one half into the coarse sugar.   Cool completely then use to garnish cake.

Our friends at King Arthur Flour carry the fiore di Sicilia; go to:

This recipe is featured on show 2701 – Got Lemons?



  1. Melinda's avatar


    Just saw this today and I can't wait to make it! Yummy! Thank you!
  2. Paula's avatar


    Watch this today. Was really hoping to see it cut into. Also, what is the weight of the lemons used since lemons here are all different sizes but never the size of a grapefruit.
  3. Lauri Schwitter's avatar

    Lauri Schwitter

    I am mesmerized over the red Kithen aide mixer !!Never saw that model before could you send me a pic or copy of that video ?Please !!Where can one buy that model ?Thank you !!
  4. Theresa's avatar


    Can you substitute almond flour for ground almonds
  5. Kim's avatar


    My question too.. Can you use almond flour or do you need to grind your own.. What weight of lemons?
  6. Jeff Lemley's avatar

    Jeff Lemley

    I watched MaryAnn make the this cake today. It looked delicious. I intend to make it myself. I love MaryAnn and her show.
    PS When I read the recipe and saw that I needed washedandleftwhole lemons I said to myself, “I thought she said she used Sicilian Lemons, these sound German.”
  7. Darrwn's avatar


    Just made this exactly as the recipe says; even the candied lemons. Came out AMAZING! Love this!
  8. Karen Pachoud's avatar

    Karen Pachoud

    I love that this is gluten-free! Watching your show makes me feel like I am in Italy! Love it! Even though I am German.
  9. Mary Ann Esposito's avatar

    Mary Ann Esposito

    The lemons used were large size; we did not weight them. The red stand mixer is from Cuisinart; go on line to see what they offer; almond flour is too fine; you need texture of ground almonds.
  10. Lisa C.'s avatar

    Lisa C.

    Watched your show this morning, this Almond Lemon Cake looks gorgeous and delicious! Can’t wait to make it. Thanks for sharing!
  11. Sharon Griffies's avatar

    Sharon Griffies

    I love your show and I love Italy. Your recipes have the original touch of family recipes handed down from Grandmother, to mother, to daughter. I can't wait to purchase the cook book and start trying these for my family. Thank you Mary Ann for sharing Italy with us.
  12. Linda K's avatar

    Linda K

    Can you substitute almond flour and if so, how much?
  13. Judy H.'s avatar

    Judy H.

    Made this last night and I must say it was very laborious. The end result was not what I expected though it looked exactly like the picture. More like a cheesecake texture than cake. I baked it for 45 minutes and toothpick came out clean. Was this the intended result? Seemed like it was still raw. TY
  14. Evelynne A Walla Ayala's avatar

    Evelynne A Walla Ayala

    Hi Mary Ann, I am making this cake as we speak, and did not see when you added the lemon mixture in the video, but I read the recipe and I added it after the eggs to the almond so I think it will come out perfect! Hoping so, anyway! Love your show and recipes, and my ancestors are from Lucca! Ciao! and thanks
  15. Richard Marino's avatar

    Richard Marino

    I'm Sicilian and looking forward to making this awesome cake. Did you ever teach at Queens College? I once took a food service class and the Prof was named Esposito.
  16. Kathy's avatar


    Thanks for a great show, I would appreciate it if you would cut into the food you make so we could see what the product looks like.

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