Portuguese Cake (Focaccia alla Portoghese) (1919) ★★★

It's certainly been a while! Little Y is 17 months now and between her, school, and being gluten-free I have had no time for blogging. On the 12th I finished my last exam for this semester, so I have some precious free time until January. I decided to browse around and see if I could find any historical recipes that were gluten-free, and I came across this one. In fact, another blog, Baking History, actually featured this recipe as well.

PORTUGUESE CAKE (Focaccia alla Portoghese)
Sweet almonds, five ounces.
Granulated sugar, five ounces.
Potato meal, one and a half ounce.
Three eggs.
One big orange or two small.
First mix the yolks of the eggs with the sugar, then add the flour, then the almonds skinned and chopped fine, then the orange juice (through a colander) then a taste of orange peel. Finally add to the mixture the white of the eggs well beaten. Put in a paper mold greased evenly with butter, with a thickness of about an inch and bake in a very moderately hot oven. After baked, cover with a white glaze or frost, made with powdered sugar, lemon juice, and the white of eggs.

The Verdict:
At first I wasn't fond of this cake, mostly due to the unique texture and the fact that I had slightly undercooked it. Because of the egg whites, this cake is ridiculously fluffy and quite moist, almost like...eating marshmallow fluff? It's odd, but not unpleasant once you get used to it. Also, I didn't find the orange flavour very strong. This could be because I didn't add any orange zest, but next time I would add zest and/or use orange juice concentrate to up the flavour a bit. Anyway, the man really liked this, and, I kid you not, half the cake was gone within 20 minutes.

Modernized Recipe:
(Adapted from The Italian Cook Book)

5 ounces SUGAR
1 1/2 ounces POTATO STARCH
1 large ORANGE, juiced and zested

1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and grease a cake pan (I used a 9 inch glass pie pan).
2. Divide the egg yolks from the whites and put the yolks into a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff and glossy.
3. Beat the yolks and add in the sugar. Mix in the potato starch, almond flour, orange juice, and orange zest.
4. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites until the batter is light and fluffy, being careful not to deflate it. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.
5. If desired, top the cake with powdered sugar or make a glaze out of lemon juice and powdered sugar.

Anje graduated with a Honours Bachelors degree in History with a minor in Museum Studies. She currently lives and works in Japan's least populous prefecture as an assistant English teacher.