Catálan Salt Pinch Cake on notjustspice.com

First things first, the name: Catálan — it’s from Spain; Salt — as it was created by Miquel B Costabella, baker and pâttisier of Salt Bakery, which in turn was named after Salt, Spain; Pinch — the traditional and recommended way of eating the Catálan Salt Pinch Cake is by pinching the cake with your fingers and eating it as opposed to using a cake fork. Ah, now we can move on to the delicious portion of this blog post.

Your house swells with the nutty and lemony fragrance of the Catálan Salt Pinch Cake, and as you transfer the cake to cool, you’ll marvel at how soft and billowy it seems; and as you pinch off a velvety piece, you’ll marvel at its yieldingness; and as it caresses your tongue, you’ll swoon over it’s delicate and nutty almond flavour, and moist yet airy texture. I told you, it’s be delicious, didn’t I?

Catálan Salt Pinch Cake on notjustspice.com

Rose Levy Beranbaum calls the Catálan Salt Pinch Cake “the most exquisite of all versions (of pinch cakes)”. And you can definitely take her word for it, just like I did. I’ve adapted this cake from her cookbook, Rose’s Heavenly Cakes — it does contain heavenly cakes’ recipes. It was quite a challenge actually. You see, it takes a long time to get the batter right — you’ll see that the instructions are lengthy accordingly. If you persevere, you’ll get it right; all that effort is definitely worth it.

This recipe is made special with the addition of almond flour, in substitution for most of the wheat flour. Rose recommends using sliced unblanched (without the skin removed) almonds and then grinding them along with a little bit of sugar, after first toasting them (details in the instructions). Grinding them in bursts in the food processor along with sugar ensures that the oils don’t separate and the food processor doesn’t get too hot. However, she also adds that using unblanched almonds adds flavour and colour to the cake, and that the cake will of course still be delicious if make using blanched almonds. Since I always keep a batch of blanched and sliced almonds at hand, I used that. You can take a look at how to blanch almonds here. https://notjustspice.com/how-to-blanch-almonds/

Catálan Salt Pinch Cake on notjustspice.com

Catálan Salt Pinch Cake on notjustspice.com

Let the cake remain in the parchment paper as you continue to eat it. I know, I know, it looks like a giant cupcake with all that parchment paper, but it holds the fleecy cake together. And like I mentioned earlier, the traditional way to eat Catálan Salt Pinch Cake (or any other pinch cake) is by pinching out pieces, instead of slicing it first. But you could serve it either way, with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. If coming by raspberries or whipped cream is difficult, serve it with tea. If you’re more adventurous and spunky, you can serve it with some super refreshing thandai, just like I did. I jazzed up my pinched portion with some saffron, rose petals, and pistachio bits — and then I marvelled and swooned!

Do let me know how your Catálan Salt Pinch Cake turned out! Did you use unblanched almonds? Use the hashtag #notjustspice on Insta or let me know on Facebook @notjustspice or you could comment below.

Catálan Salt Pinch Cake on notjustspice.com

Catálan Salt Pinch Cake
Your house swells with the nutty and lemony fragrance of the Catálan Salt Pinch Cake, and as you transfer the cake to cool, you’ll marvel at how soft and billowy it seems; and as you pinch off a velvety piece, you’ll marvel at its yieldingness; and as it caresses your tongue, you’ll swoon over it’s delicate and nutty almond flavour, and moist yet airy texture.
Ingredients
  • 1 and 1/8 cup sliced almonds (112 g or 4 oz) 1/8 cup = 2 tablespoons
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons caster sugar 180 g or 6.3 oz
  • 6 large eggs 1 cup and 3 tablespoons or 300 g
  • 2 large egg whites 1/4 cup or 60 g
  • 1 teaspoon lemon or lime zest
  • 1/2 cup cake flour sifted into the cup and levelled off 56 g or 2 oz
Instructions
Preheat the Oven
  1. Preheat the oven to 160ºc (325ºF) 20 minutes before baking — just before you start making the batter.
Almonds
  1. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake the unblanched almonds for 7 minutes or until pale golden, and the blanched almonds for 4 minutes. Stir it about twice to prevent overbrowning, and ensure that it is all evenly toasted.
  2. When the almonds have cooled completely, add them to a food processor, along with the 2 tablespoons of sugar, and pulse them in bursts until you get a fine powder. Pulse in bursts to ensure that the food processor doesn’t get too hot, and look at the powder now and then to ensure it doesn’t become pasty.
Eggs
  1. Beat the whole eggs lightly in a bowl, just enough to break them up.
Meringue
  1. Using a hand-held mixer or stand mixer with a whisk, beat the egg whites on low speed until it is foamy.
  2. Then, increase the speed until soft peaks form when you raise the beater.
  3. Beat the sugar in a little at a time, and once you’ve added all the sugar, stop the beater and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  4. Continue beating the meringue, until it gets thick and shiny — it won’t get smooth though, so don’t beat it for too long.
  5. Now stir the almond-sugar mixture into the meringue until evenly mixed — do so by detaching the beaters or whisk from the mixer, and gently stir it in.
  6. (It’s a good idea to turn the oven on now.)
Batter
  1. Reattach the beaters or whisk and get ready for some heavy-duty whisking.
  2. Keep the beater on medium speed and add 2 tablespoons of the lightly beaten egg into the meringue, and beat for 2 minutes.
  3. Repeat — add 2 tablespoons of the egg and beat for 2 minutes — until you’ve used up all the egg. The whole process should take about 20 to 25 minutes, with a minimum of 20 minutes of beating.
  4. Lastly, beat in the lemon/lime zest.
  5. Then, detach the beaters or the whisk, sift the flour onto the batter, and fold it all in.
  6. Ensure that you do not find white specks of flour, and the best way to ensure that there aren’t any white speck is by dipping your fingers into the bowl and pinching any flour bits that you come across.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan — it’ll stand at almost two inches, given all the air you’ve beaten into it.
Bake
  1. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake come out clean, and the cake when pressed lightly with one finger in the centre springs back. You will see that the cake rises only a little bit and then sinks ever so slightly in the centre.
Unmould and Cool
  1. Place the springform pan on a wire rack and remove the sides. Let the parchment paper remain attached to the cake. If you have used a regular cake pan, hold on to the parchment paper and lift the cake out and place it on a rack.
  2. Let the cake cool for about an hour before you serve it.
Serving
  1. Serve the cake in the parchment paper, atop a serving tray. Allow your guests to pinch their portions, or you could serve slices. Let the cake remain in the parchment paper until all of it it consumed. Serve with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. If coming by raspberries or whipped cream is difficult, serve it with tea. If you’re more adventurous and spunky, you can serve it with some super refreshing thandai, just like I did. I jazzed up my pinched portion with some saffron, rose petals, and pistachio bits — heavenly!

Notes

If you want to use blanched almonds — take a look at how to blanch almonds here.

Storage: It keeps for a week at room temperature if wrapped airtight, and for 10 days if refrigerated.

Equipment: One 9 by 2 and 1/2- to 3-inch springform or cake pan greased with butter or shortening, and lined with parchment — the bottom and sides. To use on the sides, cut a 33 by 3-inch band of parchment and lined along a slightly greased side. Use an extra piece to make it longer and overlap if necessary. Press it against the inside of the pan. Use extra butter on the overlapping ends of parchment to hold them in place.

Related Links:

Super Refreshing Thandai (not just spice)

How To Blanch Almonds (not just spice)

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