This gluten-free cake is simple to put together and so pretty. You can use virtually any fruit (think apricots in the summer or figs in the fall) to sit atop, but I love the sour rhubarb, as it marries so nicely with the sweet almond-flavored cake. I grow a small patch of rhubarb in the yard, but it's not the most successful crop because it prefers a cooler climate to Santa Barbara’s. Luckily, it’s available at our farmers market. It’s a perfect celebration of spring, and the positioning of the rhubarb on top looks like a woven basket when it’s put together.
24 ounces red rhubarb, cleaned with ends trimmed, stalks sliced lengthwise in half, then cut crosswise into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur, plus more for drizzle
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
5 large eggs, room temperature, separated
1 3/4 cups almond flour (6 ounces)
2 teaspoons grated lime zest (from 1 large lime)
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt
White sanding sugar
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray or butter one 9-inch square tart pan with a removable bottom, or one 10 1/4-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.
In a bowl, toss the rhubarb, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup amaretto, and lime juice. Set aside.
Grab a handheld mixer and two large bowls. In one bowl, beat the yolks with 3/4 cup sugar for about 5 minutes until thick and light yellow in color, then mix in the almond flour, lime zest, and salt. Rinse off the beaters (unplug it before you do this—please and thank you) and whip up the whites in the second bowl until stiff, about 5 minutes. Add 1⁄3 of the whites to the yolk batter and stir to incorporate. Fold in the remaining egg whites, being careful not to overmix. Pour the batter into prepared tart pan.
Using a slotted spoon, remove rhubarb pieces from the macerating liquid (reserve liquid). Arrange rhubarb on top of the batter in a pattern—I like to arrange in a basket weave. Be creative and have fun!
Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Reserve any leftover rhubarb pieces.
Bake until the torte is firm to the touch and golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool. Press pan bottom up to release torte from pan. (Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover and let stand at room temperature.)
Tip: Cut any remaining rhubarb into small dice and add to a small skillet along with its macerating liquid. Cook over medium heat until soft and liquid has reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Mash with a fork to create a jam-like texture and taste, adding more sugar if needed. It's great stuffed into crêpes, folded into yogurt, or stirred into a cocktail.
RAJ TELLS ME... This is great to enjoy with a vin santo, such as Felsina Vin Santo, Chianti, Tuscany, Italy.
Reprinted with permission from Lush Life: Food & Drinks from the Garden by Valerie Rice, Prospect Park Books 2021.
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