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My Almond Lemon Cake

My Almond Lemon Cake


You all know about my obsession with citrus - lemons, oranges and limes, to be exact. However, not sure that you have noted my love of nuts of all types. I don’t necessarily eat them all – my particular favorites are cashews and macadamias, although I love hazelnut gelato when in Italy – but guests to my home will always find a dish of my own blend, heavy on the cashews and macadamias. Between guests I am always dipping my fingers into the mix and pulling out those in particular, so I keep extras sealed for when guests are expected. Walnuts are in the Flourless Chocolate Cake and pistachios are found in crostatas (Italian tarts) and in my Sundried Tomato and Pistachio Pesto recipe. Pistachios became a favorite in my household as someone doesn’t like almonds. Then we have the other issue of a necessity to find another gluten-free dessert recipe, especially for those who are not chocoholics, and those who shouldn’t, like myself, eat gluten but want something sweet. Then there is the joy of creating something that you like and when you finally get it right everyone, even the skeptics love it, well… like it. Another reason is as a child growing up in Jamaica, and this totally dates me, nuts were a luxury item as they were imported. I still remember going back home, after our move to New York, and carrying containers filled with cashews and mixed nuts as presents to the family because my grandfather and uncle loved them. So, nuts are special as they bring back childhood memories and the thought of loved ones. Like chocolate, nuts are the ultimate gift. It is a sad day when there are no nuts in my cupboards.

Do let me know about the Almond Lemon Cake recipe that I worked on as it seemed to be a recipe in the air, and I thought – gluten free. It didn’t really work until I decided to separate the eggs. Then it just worked beautifully. I love that I can change up the flavor going from a plain almond cake to a more tropical cake adding banana or coconut flakes and coconut milk. Enjoy and I look forward to hearing from you.


Almond Lemon Cake – Gluten Free Recipe

Serves 6 – 8

 Preparation: 20 minutes

Baking: 50 minutes

2 cups almond flour                              6 eggs, separated and at room temperature

¾ cup + 1 tbsp potato starch                  1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder                             1 tsp vanilla extract                             

½ tsp salt                                              ½ cup lemon juice

2 sticks unsalted butter (16 oz)               zest 2 lemons

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream the butter and sugar together for approximately 10 minutes. In the meantime, add the egg yolks one at a time to the butter mixture. Mix together the almond flour with all of the other dry ingredients. Gradually add the flour mixture to the first mixture and add the lemon juice and lemon zest. Whip the egg whites and fold into the batter, making sure that it is fully incorporated. I usually do this last bit using a spatula. Pour into a baking pan prepared with butter and gluten free breadcrumbs (or cut parchment paper to size and add to the bottom of the pan), or a non-stick cooking spray.  Bake, testing for doneness after the specified time. If done, remove from pan immediately. Bathe the cake with the hot lemon syrup to bathe as soon as it leaves the oven on all sides.

Lemon Syrup

Makes approximately 1 ½ cups of syrup

Preparation: 15 minutes

 1 cup lemon juice                    1cup sugar

Cook at low heat, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves.  Cook for another 5 minutes until the syrup thickens. Pour immediately approximately ¼ of the syrup over the top of hot cake before placing in a cake plate, leaving more or less ¾ of the syrup to moisten the cake on all sides.


-       For a coconut cake substitute the ¼ cup of lemon juice with ½ cup of coconut milk and add 4 oz of unsweetened shredded coconut.

-       Another variation is to substitute ½ cup of lemon juice with orange juice. To make a more sophisticated cake slice an orange in thin rounds that are then dropped into the orange syrup (substitute orange for lemon) and bring to a boil. Remove the orange slices and cover both sides with sugar. Then they are placed at the bottom of the prepared pan prior to pouring in the mix, for an orange upside down cake.


Taking on Student Life : Montreal Edition

Written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Shopping, cooking and eating in Montreal: Leading the student life

·      Marketing and cooking together is an amazing and fun way to unite family and friends.

In the last five years because our daughter Caterina, otherwise known as Cat, decided to go to school in Montreal, Canada became a part of my life. Otherwise for me it was part of the Commonwealth or our neighbors to the north. I am a Europhile, so trips to our neighbors was not first on my agenda. Then Cat moved there. Not saying I went a lot, but when I did, I cooked for her friends. Shoes and clothes are not my thing, but markets and grocery stores definitely are. My recent last trip was bittersweet as Cat was preparing to return to live in New York. Her friends were anxious that she was doing so, and there were other emotional bits and pieces that were going on as well. So in that case I cooked even more.

Montreal is a pretty cool place to eat if you are a student, and even if you are not. It’s a really fantastic multiethnic city with fabulous restaurants to choose throughout. There are many all you can eat sushi, Korean grills, poutine locales and of course ladies’ night where as long as you each pay $20 in food you can drink endlessly it seems from the provided list of cocktails and wine for approximately 7 hours straight. It even has the one place in the world where I beg to be taken to eat a salad! These types of places did not exist to my knowledge in New York during my student days. Then like my group of college friends, Cat’s really like a home cooked meal and share whatever they have, with one bringing salad, another wine, rice or pasta, vegetables or cookies, etc. One of Cat’s Montreal friend made pizza for us with the incredible tomatoes and eggplants she picked up in the market. It’s all about cooking together and sharing an incredible meal.

With my arrival, we went shopping and I had the best time with our little multicultural group of ladies from varying countries exploring the Jean-Talon Marché in the Italian section of the city. Cat, Lucrezia, a friend from Rome, and I were busy jabbering away in Italian, and were stopped by an Italian vendor who pointed us in the direction of the local Italian supermarket for pasta and other ingredients to go along with the amazing plum tomatoes I had picked up for a truly ridiculous price. I roasted them in the oven (tossed them in my spaghetti and topped it off with toasted fresh breadcrumbs), along with deliciously scrumptious carrots, eggplant, peppers, zucchini and golden squash. I adore roasted vegetables of all types with fresh herbs. So easy to fix and to clean up at the end. We even went to an olive oil store to pick up Italian oil. Cat was, “Why?” My point of view is that we were cooking Italian so no other oil would do. If you are cooking Spanish, then Spanish oil is the right choice, and that goes for other olive oil producing countries and their cuisine as well. I am the same way with books. If I can read it in the original language, definitely. Otherwise it is a different book for me – a sort of “lost in translation.”

Montreal musts:

1.     Markets

Jean-Talon Marché

7070 Henri-Julien Avenue


Atwater Market

138 Avenue Atwater


 2.     Salad

Mandys Salad Bar

2067 Rue Crescent

3.     Coffee and Pastries

Clementine Café (Turkish/Mediterranean)

1490, rue Sherbrooke O

4.     Restaurants

**Restaurant Le Passé Composé

1310, boul. de Maisonneuve E

**Lawrence (British)

5201, boul. St-Laurent

(514) 503-1070


Santos Tapas Bar

191, rue St-Paul O

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Vanilla Cookie Recipe

Blog written by: Jacqueline Greaves

Another gloomy and rainy day in New York. Yesterday I baked over 16 dozen cookies and not sure what to do today. However, perhaps this will make your day a little lighter. Here is my vanilla cookie recipe that everyone asks for, even though I make other more intricate and equally flavorful cookies. I guess we all miss our grandmothers's kitchens. I think it is the homey and warm feeling of  the vanilla aroma. Do use good vanilla if possible. I love the Madagascar.

Vanilla Cookies

Makes 24 – 90 cookies depending on the cookie cutter size.

Preparation: 15 minutes to mix

                     ½ hour in the refrigerator

                     Cutting out and baking approximately ½ hour


2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

¾ cups granulated sugar

3 egg yolks

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt


In a bowl, using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add the Vanilla Extract and mix well (Add lemon zest and Lemon Curd here if doing the Lemon Cookies).


Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add salt.  Add to the butter mixture a little bit at a time at low speed, and beat well until well mixed.


Divide the dough into 2 equal parts.  Shape each into a ball. Flatten and wrap in parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least ½ hour.  The dough can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, and kept in the refrigerator.  Let it soften slightly at room temperature before continuing.


Preheat oven to 350F.  You will need 2 – 4 nonstick cookie sheets, or line baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface - I use parchment paper without the extra flour - roll out one piece of dough.  Cut out desired shapes.  Transfer the cutouts to the prepared baking sheets. Continue until all the dough is finished.


Bake until the cookies are golden and slightly darker on the bottom about 8 minutes.  Turn the tray halfway in the baking process.  Remove the cookies and let cool for about 1 minute. Transfer the cookies to the wire rack and let cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.



Variation:       Lemon Cookies

                        Substitute 2 tsp Lemon extract for Vanilla Extract

                        Add the zest of 1 Lemon       

                                    Add 2 Tbsp Lemon Curd