This is the fifth hors d’oeuvre recipe in our kosher-fied royal wedding canape reception menu. The total menu serves a 40-person reception.
Two of my favorite words from the Royal Wedding are “fascinators”, those contraptions a lot of the ladies wore on their heads instead of hats, and “financiers”, the classic French almond sponge cakes. The Queen served them during her canape reception following the wedding ceremony.
Financiers (pronounced fee-nahng-syehr) may have been good enough for the royal wedding, but they have butter in them, so they are out of our kosher-fied menu of meat and parve canapes. As it happens, classic Jewish cuisine includes a parve almond sponge cake. The base combines ground almonds and a mixture of eggs and sugar. There are no grain-based flours and no chemical leavening agents, so this cake is a centuries-old star of the kosher baker and homemaker’s Passover repertoire. There are many variations. This version incorporates orange zest and orange juice. It is the traditional Sephardic orange-almond cake called Torta de las Reyes, “cake of kings”, which makes them a grand choice for your royal wedding.
The recipe comes from The World Of Jewish Desserts, by Gil Marks. His classic recipe calls for baking the cake in a 9″ springform pan, but to make canape-sized bites I used small bundt cake shaped molds.
Because classic financiers are garnished with berries, I placed a raspberry in the center of each tiny torta. The berries’ flavor complements the orange in the cake, and they make a festive touch.
The number of hors d’oeurves you get from this recipe will depend on the size of the molds you choose. The mini bundt cake molds used to make the canape cakes shown in the photo take a half tablespoon of batter, and the the batter yielded 110 hors d’oeuvres.
Ingredients for Torta de las Reyes
- 2 cups (10 ounces) ground almonds (find them at your kosher grocer’s or the kosher aisle of your grocery store)
- 1½ cups sugar
- ¼ cups bread crumbs or matza meal
- 1 Tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon orange blossom water, or 2 Tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 12 oz. fresh raspberries
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease the molds with a thin layer of vegetable oi.
- Combine the ground almonds and ¼ cup sugar and mix well. Add the crumbs, zest, and salt.
- Beat the eggs and remaining 1¼ cups sugar until thick and creamy, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in the nut mixture and orange blossom water.
- Pour into prepared molds. Bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 10 to 12 minutes. If you are going to serve the cakes within a day of baking the cakes, you can place a berry on top of each cake about halfway through the cooking time.
- Place on a rack and let cool.
Make Ahead Options
If you leave off the berry during cooking, you can freeze the the cakes for up to 2 months. Add the berries up to a few hours before serving, using a small dot of decorator’s icing to stick the berry on the cake.
The next canape: Haddock Fishcake with Pea Guacamole