Tarta de Santiago

This cake is from Spain.  It dates back to mideval times in honor or the Apostle, St. James, the Patron Saint of Spain.  St. James was the first Apostle to be killed because of his faith. It is said that his bones were discovered during the reign of King Alfonso II, between 791 and 842.  This is when the pilgrim route opened.  His body was buried near Santiago.   The cake comes from the Galicia and the Compolstela region, where St. James was buried.  There is a cross, called the Cross of Saint James on the cake, which is a sword and a fleur-de-lis on it.  This refers to both the military and the martyrdom of St. James. The cake was first referanced in 1577.  It was recorded by Pedro de Porto Carrero. Originally the cake was called torta real, which means “Royal Cake”.  This cake is mostly consumed in July because the 25th of July is St. James’ day.

The cake is an almond cake(which means it is a gluten free cake, which has nothing to do with why it was created this way).  This cake is very dense with a hint of citrus in it.  The cake is not hard to make.  The most difficult part of making this cake is folding in the egg whites, without deflating the air bubbles, when folding them into the dense cake.  The way that I got the cross on the cake was to cut out a picture of the Cross of Saint James and lay it on the cake and then powder sugar the cake and then remove the template.