Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake

I guess it’s no longer much of a secret that we’re putting the house on the market and moving west. It’s been a fun run, but 19 years on the east coast is enough. Vancouver, Washington, here we come!

Vancouver is just across the Columbia River from Portland, where we have a lot of family. For uis, it’s more affordable than Portland, and Washington has no state income tax – an important consideration when you’re old and on a fixed income.

For both of us, this is the longest we have lived in one place – ever. 19 years. We even had the longest jobs we’ve ever had. As I said, it’s been a good run, but time to move back.

Of course, uprooting after 19 years has its own set of issues and stress. First and foremost, of course, is making sure Nonna is taken care of. After another stroke in December, she had to go into long-term care. She’s happy and complacent – and the home is just a few minutes away from us. Great facility, really good staff… We worked out the financials, powers of attorney, the care schedules, et al, and Victor’s brother and sister will take over once we’re on our way.

Then, of course, we have to sell here and buy there. Fortunately, we have the best Realtor around – Sharon Sharpe – who is making this as painless as possible. Our Realtor out west – Kenneth Johns – was recommended by a family friend and has been great in helping us narrow down our search and steering us in the right direction.

And then there’s the added stress of actually having to keep the house really clean and organized for showings! Let’s face it – we’re much more Oscar than Felix, Blanche leaves wads of fur everywhere, and I really don’t understand how cobwebs can reproduce within minutes of cleaning.

And then there’s the whole foreign concept of having to keep the kitchen clean. I mean… really…

And getting rid of 19 years of clutter. While Victor is a purger, I’m more of a packrat. And it never fails… whenever I decide to start tossing stuff, I find out I needed something. The local GoodWill store has been our favorite destination – after calling JDog Junk Removal for stuff even I could get rid of… They were great guys and we’ll be calling them, again, for the final clean-out after packing.

The stress, the stress…..

So… to try and ease the stress a bit, Victor headed into the kitchen to bake a cake he saw on Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito. We have not baked a cake for 18 months – but it was definitely time.

Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake

Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake

adapted from Mary Ann Esposito Ciao Italia

Equipment: 9-inch spring form pan, buttered, lined with buttered parchment paper and set aside.



  • 3 large lemons, washed and left whole (Meyer lemons preferred)
  • 2 3/4 cups finely ground blanched or sliced almonds (The easiest way to measure the almonds is by weight. You will need 3/4 of a pound or 300 grams.
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Confectioner’s sugar


  • 1 cup or more of confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fiore di Sicilia extract (mix 1/2 orange extract and 1/2 vanilla extract)
  • a few drops of milk



Place lemons in a pot, cover with cold water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook just under the boil for about 45 minutes. Drain and when cool, trim the ends, cut them in half widthwise and remove the seeds. Chop the lemons and place in a food processor with 1/2 cup of the sugar and process until smooth. Transfer mixture to a fine mesh strainer set over and a bowl and strain the lemon mixture.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Divide blanched peeled almonds into three batches and whirl them in a food processor until they are powdered. Combine the batches and set them aside. (Or: buy fine almond flour at the supermarket!)

Beat the egg yolks and remaining 1 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until they are pale yellow and frothy looking, and then beat in the drained lemon mixture and the powdered almonds. Stir in the salt and baking powder.

In a separate bowl with clean beaters, whip the whites into soft peaks. Fold the beaten whites into the lemon mixture and pour the batter into the pan.

Bake the cake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out dry. Be careful not to let the cake brown too much; it should be golden brown.

Cool slightly then release sides of the spring pan, remove the sides, and let the cake cool. Dust it with confectioner’s sugar or make a confectioner’s glaze with:


Mix all glaze ingredients until the glaze consistency forms then drizzle over cooled cake.


Sicilian Almond Lemon Cake

Talk about an excellent way to break our cake fast! Moist and lemony, it was perfection on a plate.

We each had one slice and then wrapped it up tight. The following day we sliced it up for the Realtor Open House. I hope they loved the house as much as they loved the cake. There was nary a crumb left…


2020 is bringing new adventures…

We’re ready!