Cook this: Italian Margherita Cake

As you may have noticed from quite a few of my recipes, I rarely, if ever, actually follow a recipe word for word. I’m a rebel. No; actually, I’m Italian. I grew up in a world where women didn’t use recipes; they kept it all up in their noggins and baked by feel. They also didn’t have blogs back in the old days in Italy, so recipes were pretty much just handed down through the generations.

Unlike my Nonnas, I literally have a world of recipes available to me, which is brilliant! One of my favourite sites on my blog roll, which consistently gives me new recipes to try from all around the globe is Honest Cooking, and when Veronica Lavenia’s recipe for an Italian Margherita cake popped up on my blog roll last week and I saw that she’d already stuffed around a bit with the traditional version to create her own, I figured I wouldn’t screw around with it anymore too much more; I had to a little bit, because I found the original recipe a little fragmented and hard to read/follow.

While the original version uses lots of eggs, milk and butter, Veronica’s version uses less eggs and olive oil to give it a nice little twist. The only changes I made were to add a little milk when I found the batter to be too dry, and I used caster sugar instead of raw sugar, and regular plain flour instead of Farro flour – because I already had them in the pantry, and I didn’t want to wait for cake. Because I’m Italian. Here’s my version…


– 2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
– pinch of salt
– ⅓ cup caster sugar
– finely grated zest of 1-2 lemons (depending on how lemony you like your cakes)
– ⅓ cup olive oil
– 275g plain flour
– 1 tsp baking powder
– ¼ cup milk
– ½ cup toasted almond, chopped


1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C and line a round cake tin with non-stick baking paper.

2. Pour the egg whites into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer with the pinch of salt until white and stiff; set aside.

3. In another, larger mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and creamy. Add in the lemon zest and oil and beat again until combined.

4. Sift in the flour and baking powder, and mix together with a spoon or spatula.

5. Finally, fold the egg whites, followed by the milk, into the egg yolk mix.

6. Pour the batter into the cake tin, sprinkle with the almonds and bake for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

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