Between sponge cake and cake, this Nettle cake will delight lovers of those sweets with true taste of yesteryear, to traditional village pastries, to simple but top quality ingredients. With a soft and very aromatic crumb, with its precise point of juiciness, it is a cake that undoubtedly tastes better when shared on colder afternoons with a good steaming cup.
Actually this is an unofficial version of the original sweet, whose original recipe is kept under lock and key in the Carli de Asiago pastry shop, founded in 1909 by two sisters in love with the sweet, Susanna and Caterina Carli. Their small project was cut short when the First World War broke out, and they were forced to flee to Vicenza, where they continued, despite everything, preparing their products as best they could.
Years later they returned to their native Asiago to re-build a business that, over time, has become an essential visit for any sweet tooth visiting the area. Especially famous is its cake, which they baptized with the name of Mount Ortigara to honor the memory of a bloody battle that pitted Italian troops against Austrians in the Great War.
The quality of its humble ingredients is the key to success with this sweet
It consists of flour, sugar, lemon, eggs, almond and the exquisite butter local, and is said to keep for weeks to achieve a drier crumb texture, perfect for dipping. We have followed this recipe, which seeks to recreate the popular sponge cake, with slight changes. It reminds us of the Santiago cake, but softer and fluffier, and with the unmistakable lemon scent how well it combines with almonds.
Preheat the oven to 175ºC and grease a round mold of about 24-26 cm in diameter, removable bottom. It is more practical to cover this bottom with parchment paper, hook the projection to close it with the ring, and grease the sides.
Sift the flour with the ground almonds, the yeast and salt into a container. Separately, beat the soft butter, chopped with the sugars and the fine lemon zest (washed) with a whisk. The more lemon, the more aromatic. Beat for several minutes, lowering the ingredients when they go up the walls of the bowl, until a homogeneous cream remains.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating a little each time. It is important that the eggs are not cold. Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice add, little by little, the flour mixture, stirring with the rods as it is added. Once a homogeneous mass is obtained, fill the mold and spread with the back of a spatula or spoon.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes, making sure it doesn’t overdo. Prick in the center with a toothpick when it is very golden, to check that the inside is cooked. Wait a bit out of the oven before unmolding and letting cool completely on a wire rack. Serve with sifted icing sugar.
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Fresh the first or second day, it is a sponge cake with a point of juiciness that can be enjoyed on its own, although it feels much better with a comforting drink on the side. For breakfast or a snack, especially if it is already refreshingNothing like a good coffee with milk or to our liking, a tea or spicy infusion or, if we already get very sweet, a little milk or a vegetable drink with cocoa, better if we do not sweeten it too much. The Ortigara cake will also be a great accompaniment to after-dinner coffee, or a sweet wine when the sun goes down.
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