30 September 2009

Torta de Cielo / Almond Sponge Cake

Ashley was down with stomach flu yesterday and even though the fever and vomiting has gone away, she’s still having some mild diarrhea. And I have to say she’s quite a champion, she isn’t fussy or cranky except when she had vomiting spells but she’s still pretty active for a toddler that needs to go to the toilet every 15 minutes or so. So this morning, she woke up and said to me groggily ‘Mommy, Ashley make cake’ and even though I told her she’s still sick and she can’t eat cake, she insists that we make (bake) cake today, so since I was interested in making the cake after coming across it on one of my many cookbooks the other day plus I have the ingredients in my pantry, why not
Now during the process of baking the cake, I’ve broken a few baking rules and pretty much landed myself in a baking jail (if there’s such thing) because, while waiting for the cake to bake, I googled for Torta de Cielo recipes and to my surprise (and horror) I need to soak the almonds for at least 6 hours and instead of 40minutes as stated on the book, I need to bake for at least an hour. So many discrepancies between the online recipes and the book! And you would be wondering what are the rules that I’ve broken, well I tried to adjust the oven’s temperature to 160 Celsius instead of 180 Celsius and 25 minutes instead of 40. At first it looked alright, even though the cake didn’t rise, I tested the cake doness after 10 minutes, it was still soggy wet! So I increased to 190 and because I was so afraid the cake would burn and I lowered it to 170 after 5 minutes. I kept on increasing and lowering the temperature so often I was beginning to anticipate the arrival of the baking police. So in the end it took me close to an hour just to make this cake. And I suspect that I didn’t use an 8 inch pan as instructed, I used 6 inch pan perhaps that’s why the cake didn’t cook according to the time and raised pretty high.
And since I have never eaten this cake before I can’t compare with mine. It has the texture of a banana cake and the crust’s a little chewy but still very nice although I might reduce the amount of sugar next time because it’s too sweet for my liking.
But overall, the cake does smell and taste oh so heavenly; no wonder it’s called Heaven Cake in Spanish
And I’ve decided to rate the food I’ve made so you can have a clearer picture of it. I promise I won’t be biased!
Taste                            : 3/5 because of the sweetness
Preparation                   : 4/5 the recipe’s pretty easy to follow
Ingredients                    : 5/5 you can get the ingredients at hypermarkets, supermarkets
Availability                      & baking supplies stores
Cooking time                : 2/5 taking too much of my time supervising the cake
(adapted from Perfect Mexican)
You need:
225 gm of unsalted butter, at room temperature plus extra for greasing *
175 gm of whole almonds, in their skins
225 gm of caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp of almond essence
1 tsp of vanilla essence
9 tbsps of flour
pinch of salt
to decorate:
icing sugar for dusting
slivered almonds, toasted
How to:
  1. Lightly grease a 20cm/8inch round pan or square cake pan and line the pan with baking parchment
  2. Place the almonds in a food processor and process to form a ‘mealy’ mixture. Set aside *view picture*
  3. Beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer at medium speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, almonds and both the almond and vanilla essences with low speed until well blended
  4. Stir in the flour and salt and mix briefly, until the flour is just incorporated.
  5. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface. Bake in a preaheated oven at 180 Celsius, for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake feels spongy when gently pressed.
  6. Remove from the oven and let stand on a wire rack to cool. To serve, dust with icing sugar and decorate with toasted slivered almonds.


Cooking Tutorials



How to

*Mealy mixture*


My lil sous chef blowing a kiss for luck

For behind the scenes, do hop over to my personal blog


  1. Oh My God! You're making me really hungry.
    And the presentation is so professional too.
    Maybe you and Ashley can make a cokking show together. :-)

  2. looks like the blog is going well :) Will have to try something tasty of yours when I get home!

    I've tagged you on my blog :)

  3. Great post, Alesia! Ashley is so cute. Does she blow kisses on all the dishes you make? Is that why all of them look so yummy? As for the cake, yes, if you use a smaller pan instead, the baking will take a little longer and the temp will have to be adjusted to be a little lower so that the cake is able to cook more thoroughly and rise properly since there is less surface for it to cook compared to the 8" pan. I found this site the other day and it was a great help: http://www.baking911.com/pantry/substitutes_pansizes.htm

  4. DurianGirl,
    Thanks! but I think we still need more practice before that, as you can see Ashley's not much of a camera person :P

    I hope so too :D Looking forward to your trip home. It's been awhile!

    Xie xie ni! Definitely! She makes everything so beautiful :)and thank you for the tips. I didn't know that but now I do. Really terrible when it comes to baking.

    And the cake keeps quite well, I gave some to my relatives today and they loved it!


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