Lemon torte

July 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

Apologies due all around: first, to the French, for featuring an Italian dessert on Bastille Day (vive la révolution, please don’t take away my bachelor’s degree as revenge, etc.); and second, to you my dear readers, for taking so long to “borrow” Jamie’s Italy…okay, and for not having posted a dessert in a while, and also for featuring a second recipe related to the great Jamie empire in a row. In my defense, and as penance, I present this spectacular lemon torte.

Now, the titular torte is an almost nutty, lemon-scented, dense yet light concoction that looks quite unassuming but is in reality quite a knockout. It is very simple to make, from humble ingredients you probably have in your kitchen right now: flour, sugar, eggs, lemons, yeast (sounds odd but adds a wonderful complexity), and butter. It’s really the perfect dessert for really any occasion, French holiday or no.

First, butter a twelve-inch springform pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt one cup of unsalted butter, either in bursts in the microwave or on the stovetop on medium heat. Heat it until just melted.

Meanwhile, crack four extra-large eggs into a mixing bowl

and stir.

As you can see, I slightly overheated the butter.

Let it cool for a bit before adding the two and a half teaspoons of yeast.

In the mixing bowl add in three and three-quarters cups of (regular all-purpose) flour.

Stir it around a bit.

Toss in two cups of sugar…

and then the yeast and butter mixture. Mix it together and grate in the zest of one lemon.

Then, juice the lemons.

Mix the batter until just integrated, while also scraping down the sides of the bowl.

This batter is pretty thick, so push it from the bowl into the springform pan. I used the spatula to flatten out the top before baking it for forty to forty-five minutes. I baked it on a cookie sheet in case the springform decided to leak. Fortunately it didn’t!

Remove the torte from the oven when the top is golden brown. A tester in the center should come out with possibly a few crumbs. Let it cool for about twenty minutes with the springform ring on.

You can either remove the springform exterior and serve immediately, or just wait until it’s ready to serve before removing the exterior piece.

Lemon torte is equally delicious served warm or cool.

Lemon torte

Adapted from Jamie’s Italy

Serves eight to ten

  • One cup unsalted butter
  • Additional butter for buttering the pan
  • Four extra-large eggs
  • Two and 1/2 teaspoons active dried yeast (one packet or one and 1/4 ounces)
  • Three and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Two cups of sugar
  • Juice of two lemons
  • Zest of one lemon

1. Butter a twelve-inch diameter springform pan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, or in the microwave in short bursts, barely melt the cup of butter. Remove from heat or from microwave and let cool a few moments.

3. Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add yeast to butter mixture and stir.

4. Add flour and sugar to egg mixture. Pour in yeast and butter mixture. Zest and juice the lemons and stir the batter well.

5. Pour cake batter into the springform pan. Bake for forty to forty-five minutes or until cake is golden brown on top. Let cool at least twenty minutes before releasing the springform ring. Enjoy!

Note: this cake will keep, wrapped tightly, for up to two days.


Oliver, Jamie. “La torta della giovane Sara: Young Sara’s torte.” Jamie’s Italy. New York: Hyperion, 2006 (300).


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