I’ve known tortas de Alcazar ever since I was a child. At least in my childhood it was virtually impossible to go near Alcázar de San Juan, a large village in the region of La Mancha and mostly known for these cakes, and not run into them at a store. I have eaten these sponge cakes by the bushel and without leaving Madrid, as similar cakes are sold at hundreds of locations. I also recently found them in Segovia, where they are sold at the most traditional pastry shop in the town, Confitería Alcázar, named after the Segovia Alcazar, the massive town castle. I could not find any information on how the cakes became typical from Segovia too, but I assure you that they are identical to the ones from Alcázar de San Juan. We enjoyed quite a few sitting in the sun at the gardens of the Alcázar… In Spanish torta means any kind of flat cake or bread, either sweet or savory. I am in love with traditional confections.
These cakes are but a kind of sponge cake baked on a flat surface by the spoonful instead of in a mold. Alcazar cakes found in stores are usually glazed and sitting on a nice round piece of paper where they fit perfectly. Oh, and those with cholesterol problems please refrain from making them because they carry tons of egg.
- 8 huevos medianos
- 200g caster sugar
- 200g cake flour
- Zest from 2 lemons
- 1 pinch salt
- Butter for greasing the paper
- Additional sugar from sprinkling
- Zest the lemons, set aside.
- Separate the whites from the yolks, mix the zest with the egg yolks and add a pinch of cinnamon.
- Whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt, and when they are very frothy, add tablespoons of sugar one by one until you get a soft meringue, it should not reach stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg yolks with the meringue with a few strokes of the spatula, shhhh, shhh, shhh, not difficult for the skilled readers of this blog...
- Then sieve the flour over the eggs and fold it too with care and affection.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large tip and pipe rounds of 12cm diameter on a piece of buttered parchment paper lining a baking sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar on top if you like (1).
- Preheat the oven to 160º (fan) / 180º; bake the cakes at low level 10-15 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, it does not take long because they are thin and set very quickly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Tortas de Alcazar cakes are used in preparing another typical dessert from La Mancha, bizcochá, a torta soaked in milk flavored with sugar, lemon and cinnamon and served sprinkled with more cinnamon then. For the milk lovers out there, which is not my case, although I do have two milk-addicts in the family.
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