This delicious almond cake is named in honour of Santiago – St. James – the patron saint of Spain. His remains are buried in the city of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. During the Middle Ages, the pilgrimage to Santiago was the most important pilgrimage of the Christian world. Today many people still make the trip to Santiago not just for religious reasons, but as a cultural, historical or active vacation. The cake’s origin is not certain, but it may have been brought to Galicia by a pilgrim. Today, this cake is sold all over Santiago de Compostela and is popular with tourists and pilgrims.


2 2/3 c. ground almonds
¾ cup flour
1 ¼ cup sugar
4 eggs
8 tbsp butter (1 cube), at room temperature
½ tsp baking powder
½ cup water
Zest of 1 lemon
Powdered sugar to decorate


Blanch the almonds then, using a grinder or a food processor, grind the almonds until fine and set aside. Heat the oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a round 8-inch pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together. Add the butter, flour, baking powder and water, and heat until thoroughly mixed. Stir the almonds into the batter. Grate the lemon and add the zest and stir until thoroughly mixed. Pour batter into cake pan. Bake in oven on the middle shelf at 350 F degrees for approximately 45 – 50 minutes. Check doneness after 45 minutes. Cake is done if a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.The traditional way to decorate is to sprinkle powdered sugar on top, with a cut-out of St. James or a cross on top. To create a cross, use any clean piece of paper folded and cut out a cross. Then, after the cake has cooled, place the cross in the centre of the cake and dust the top with powdered sugar. A small flour sifter works well for the job. The St. James cake recipe serves approximately 8.

Ith do shàth!
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