This is a simple, gluten-free cake, made wonderfully moist and dense with buckwheat, almond meal and grated apple, filled with tart lingonberry jam and topped with a veil of powdered sugar. Known as schwarzplententorte in German or torta di granosaraceno in Italian, this is a very traditional recipe from Alto Adige in Italy's most northern corner. It's most commonly eaten for breakfast together with a big mug of caffe latte, or as a morning or afternoon snack.
The simpler version of this recipe is without the apple (it can easily be eliminated from the recipe without changing the other proportions), and the oldest versions of this recipe use only the buckwheat flour, with almond meal (usually made by grinding whole almonds, skin on, in a blender) being a modern addition that adds to the dense crumb of this cake. Obligatory is the filling of lingonberry jam (also known as mountain cranberries) -- you could substitute cranberry or redcurrant jelly if you can't find this jam, but if you do want to seek it out, try Ikea (lingonberry jam is also a national staple of Sweden!). —Emiko
(250 grams or 2 sticks) butter, room temperature
(250 grams) sugar
(250 grams) buckwheat flour (this comes in light or dark, so be aware the choice will affect the color of your cake)
2 1/4 cups
(250 grams) almond meal, skins on if possible
apple, peeled and grated
(200 gr) lingonberry jam (redcurrant or cranberry jelly can also substitute)
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg yolks and beat until pale and creamy. Add the buckwheat, almond meal, grated apple and the scraped seeds of the vanilla pod until just combined.
Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold in, bit by bit, into the batter until well combined and pour batter into a greased and lined round baking tin (10 inch diameter).
Bake in a medium oven at 350ºF for about 50 minutes or until the cake is deep golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, remove cake from tin and slice in half lengthways. Spread the bottom layer with the lingonberry jam and replace the top layer. Just before serving, dust with powdered sugar.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.