Dana Slatkin

Nigella’s Cinnamon Almond Cake

nigella almond cake


adapted from (Clarkson Potter 2013) Nigellissima, Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes
Find Nigella’s original recipe here.

Every so often I’ll stumble on a recipe that is just what I needed, exactly when I needed it. This is one of them.

Around the time of my birthday last month, one of my friends knew how much I idolize Nigella Lawson, the eloquent and stunning television host of “The Taste” and deservedly successful cookbook author. When Nigella was signing her latest tome, Nigellissima, Easy Italian-Inspired Recipes, at a Williams-Sonoma in Orange County, my friend waited in line for four hours to have her autograph a birthday gift for me.

That night, I read my new cookbook cover to cover. I marked dozens of pages with sticky notes. And then this recipe caught my eye. It was deliciously photographed, and I was intrigued by the short list of totally clean ingredients (except for the ¾ cup of white sugar — an easy Farmgirl fix).

I had been searching for a fresh new dessert to make for Passover, and this one happened to be flourless. Could I omit the baking powder (prohibited during the holiday) and still have a fluffy, moist cake? I’m happy to report either way, it’s a handsdown winner.

But cooking always seems to lead me beyond the food to deeper revelations. While the cake was in the oven, I thought about my friend’s enormous act of generosity in order to procure my present (how many people would you spend four hours waiting in line for?). And I thought about what the upcoming holidays are all about. Or rather, what they are not about.

fan at book signingPassover and Easter are not about us. We are supposed to put aside our egos for a moment to think about sacrifice, about freeing ourselves from what enslaves us, in order to soar higher. The holidays are about something greater than ourselves.

It is no coincidence that just when Spring arrives, when flowers are starting to bud and asparagus are poking their heads out of the ground, we celebrate together. We give ourselves a chance to start fresh, revel in doing for others, and appreciate where we are right now.

So thank you, Nigella, for giving me some baking and spiritual inspiration. It came just at the right time.

Happy Spring!
Looking for more recipes to make for Passover or Easter? Try these…

Farmers Market Vegetable Soup

Mushroom Leek Soup

Wild Mushroom Pate

Spring Spinach Salad with Avocado and Goat Cheese

Hearts of Palm Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Perfect Potato Zucchini Latkes

Ottolenghi’s Flourless Chocolate Cake

Date Coconut Walnut Balls

Dark Chocolate Coconut Clusters


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