Torta Margherita:                             Feb 2018

Torta Margherita: 

Over the last year or so the number of Gluten free products available in the supermarkets has rocketed. This is obviously because the number of people with Gluten intolerance is now a fairly common problem. 

(Gluten intolerance is an adverse reactions to gluten , a protein found in wheat, barley and rye.)

Luckly my family don’t suffer with this but I think it wise to have a few gluten free recipes for those that do.

This classic Italian cake is one of them. Its yeast free, gluten free and dairy free, but tastes fantastic and is easy to make. There are just three ingredients. Patato starch, sugar and eggs. (you can get patato starch at Holland & Barret or any good health food store)

This recipe is originly from The great-grandfather of all Italian cooks Pellegrino Artusi whos book The Art of Eating Well: It is a must have, and available in English.

The slices of white icing sugar coated cake are said to look like the petals of a daisy which is why its called Torta Margherita as Margherita means daisy in Italian.

The Torta Margherita should be served with coffee or tea simply with icing sugar, cream or ice cream, but you could also use it like a sponge or in a wonderful trifle. 

For a cake for  8 to 10 you will need :

  • 120 grams of potato starch, sifted
  • 120 grams of fine white sugar (caster sugar)
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice or zest of a lemon or 
  • Vanilla extract (optional)

Separate the yolks from the whites and beat the just the yolks together with the sugar until very pale and creamy. Make sure you beat them well.

If using, add the lemon or vanilla and all the potato starch and beat. 

In a separate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until you obtain stiff peaks then delicately fold the whites into the cake batter. 

Pour the mixture into a round cake tin (buttered and lined with baking paper). 

Bake at 180c heat for about 45 minuets, check buy inserting a strand of spaghetti into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean its cooked. It should be golden on top and firm to the touch if it’s getting too brown cover with tin foil.

Once cooked let it cool then dust with icing sugar and serve.

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First published in 1891, Pellegrino Artusi's La scienza in cucina e l'arte di mangier bene has come to be recognized as the most significant Italian cookbook of modern times. It was reprinted thirteen times and had sold more than 52,000 copies in the years before Artusi's death in 1910, with the number of recipes growing from 475 to 790. And while this figure has not changed, the book has consistently remained in print.