The Amalfi Coast of Italy is one if the most spectacular places on earth known for its breathtaking beauty and renowned cuisine. From fresh, rich pastas and local seafood, to sweet delicacies that are sure to sweep you off your feet, the foods prepared here are unbeatable. Just a quick bus ride away from Positano, and Amalfi, up the mountain side to the charming village of Ravello, sits Mamma Agata’s famous world-class cooking school. It is here where I have had the pleasure of learning how to prepare, and enjoy some of the most outstanding recipes my pallet has ever experienced. So unique is the experience of a visit with Mamma Agata and her family that I am now happy that you are all able to capture and relive these treasured culinary moments with the Mamma Agata “Simple and Genuine” family cookbook!. This cookbook is a labour of love, sharing age old recipes from Mamma Agata. Easy to follow, with step by step instructions and beautiful photography. Mamma Agata’s secret tips will make you feel as if she was standing right next to you. You will be creating authentic, mouth watering dishes from the Campania region before you know it. Recently honoured as Winner of the “Gourmand World Cookbook Awards” as “Best Cookbook in the World” in the category “Best Easy Recipes”, second only to Jamie Oliver as well as the coveted Royal Dragonfly book award by Five Star Publication, this cookbook is a must in everyone’s kitchen.
One of Mamma’s most renowned recipe is her famous Lemon Cake. Decadent and delicious, this rich, moist dessert ranks as my all time favorite. Lovingly served warm with a piping mug of cappuccino upon your arrival to her family villa, the experience leaves you asking for more. Humphrey Bogart, who gave Mamma Agata her nickname of “Baby Agata” loved this recipe so much, he would refuse to eat his breakfast without a slice.
I’m going back to Amalfi in the spring and will be taking a group of eager travel enthusiasts to share this once in a lifetime experience. But, a little slice of what this adventure has to offer can be yours today. It is my pleasure to share Mamma Agata’s recipe for her famous Lemon Cake:
- 2 sticks of butter, plus an additional 1.5 tablespoons to coat pan
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- Grated zest of 2 large lemons
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1-1/3 cups flour (white pastry flour or “00” flour)
- 4.25 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ cup chopped, toasted hazelnuts or almonds
Pre-heat the oven to 320 degrees. Whip the butter in a mixing bowl on high speed for at least two minutes. For best results, use an electric mixer with a rotating mixing bowl. Add the sugar and continue to whip until a soft cream forms. Mix the baking powdered into the flour and set aside.
Add the following ingredients to the mixing bowl one at a time:
- Eggs, one at a time
- Grated Lemon Zest
- Flour and baking powder mixture
By alternating, you will want to add one quarter of the flour and blend, then add one quarter of the milk and blend, and repeat this process until all of the flour and milk have been added and blended. Continue to mix the ingredients on medium speed until the texture of the batter has a light and airy consistently (similar to mousse).
Coat the surface of a fluted pan with butter before dusting it with flour. Shake off any excess flour before adding the cake batter to the pan. A Bundt pan works perfect for this.
Bake the cake in a pre-heated oven for 45 minutes. Avoid opening the oven at anytime during the baking process because this will affect how the cake rises. While the cake is baking in the oven, you will want to prepare the lemon mixture. Here is the recipe:
- 1-1/3 cups of water
- Juice of 3 large lemons
- 8 tablespoons sugar
Here are the steps to take for this process:
- Squeeze the lemons into a pitcher
- Add the sugar to the lemon juice
- Mix until the sugar is fully dissolved
- Add the water
Once the lemon cake is finished baking, let it sit for two ours outside of the oven to bring it to room temperature. The lemon mixture will then be added to the cake. This is the ingredient that makes the cake so moist.
Before the lemon mixture is added, it is essential that you ensure your cake does not stick to the pan. Here is the process to check for this:
- Place a plate on top of the pan
- Tip the pan over and carefully shake the cake out of the pan
- Immediately place the cake pan back onto the cake
- Carefully turn the pan back over
- Remove the plate to expose the cake
Pouring the lemonade on the cake:
Over the course of 30 minutes, slowly pour the lemonade mixture over the cake in several different pouring episodes. Do this every ten minutes to allow the previous pour time to absorb into the cake. Most likely, you will not use all of the lemonade. Flip the cake onto a serving plate and garnish the top with finely chopped hazelnuts.
Last, but not least….Enjoy!
Making this cake is a delight, but having a slice of this on the patio of Mamma Agata and her family villa is even more extraordinary. For a taste of this culinary adventure for yourself, take a look at my upcoming 2013 Amalfi Coast itinerary to learn more. Stay tuned next month for a special giveaway. Will your version of Mamma Agata’s Famous Lemon Cake win you some wonderful gifts?
Carol Ketelson is the owner and operator of Delectable Destinations LLC. Dedicated to planning, co-ordinating and curating customized group tours to hand-picked destinations. As an experienced travel planner, Carol’s customized itineraries, specialized tours and off-the-beaten-path experiences create memorable journeys for her small groups of singles, couples, divorced, widowed and solo travelers seeking exceptional trips into the culture and cuisine of destinations around the world. Spring and Fall bookings invite travelers to taste delectable local cuisine, culturally rich traditions and mesmerizing sights. For over 10 years, Carol’s tours have captured the true essence of Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Puglia, Spain, Ireland and India.
Delectable Destinations…Delivering your dream trip. For more information & 2017 trips log onto: www.delectabledestinations.com