Do you enjoy cake? Almonds? Then you’re in for a real treat from author K.C. Bateman. I think it’s time to bake a cake while Kate introduces you to her characters and intriguing story! I’ll be right back… Kate, you’re on!
In A Raven’s Heart, the second book in my Regency-era Secrets & Spies series, my codebreaking heroine Heloise and smuggler-spy hero Raven set off on an adventure around Northern Spain. Not all Regency romances are set in London ballrooms—in my books I like to show people that there’s a whole world out there to explore, even if it’s only within the pages of a book as an armchair traveler!
This delicious almond cake is made in cities across Northern Spain, and is called Tarta de Santiago. Pilgrims who visit the great Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia see it in the windows of every pastry shop and restaurant. It’s made in all sorts of sizes, and is often marked on top with the shape of the cross of the Order of Santiago. It’s sometimes made with a pastry tart base, but this version is without a base. It’s really easy to make and even gluten-free! A definite way to impress your dinner guests.
I spent quite a bit of time in Spain as a child, so the descriptions of the landscape and food in my books come from personal experience. One of my favorite scenes in A Raven’s Heart has Raven and Heloise bickering over almonds, carobs and pomegranates. I hope my affection for the country shines through and gives those who’ve never been there a hint of what it’s like.
With the wonderful Spanish combination of oranges, lemons, and almonds, this recipe should put you in the mood for a fiesta! Enjoy!
- 1/2 pound (1 3/4 cups) blanched whole almonds
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
- Grated zest of 1 orange
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 drops almond extract
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Finely grind the almonds in a food processor.
With an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar to a smooth pale cream. Beat in the zests and almond extract. Add the ground almonds and mix very well.
With clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a large bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the egg and almond mixture (the mixture is thick, so that you will need to turn it over quite a bit into the egg whites).
Grease an 11-inch springform pan, preferably nonstick, with butter and dust it with flour. Pour in the cake batter, and bake into a preheated 350°F for 40 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch. Let cool before turning out.
Just before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners’ sugar. If you like, cut a St. James cross out of paper, place it in the middle of the cake, and dust with confectioners’ sugar, then remove the paper. Optional: serve with a scoop of cream or ice cream and top with toasted slivered almonds. Yum!
Kate Bateman (writing as K. C. Bateman) wrote her first historical romance in response to a $1 bet with her husband who rashly claimed she’d ‘never finish the thing.’ She gleefully proved him wrong with a historical set in the Italian Renaissance. Now writing for Random House Loveswept, her latest ‘Secrets & Spies’ Regency-era trilogy features her trademark feisty, intelligent heroines, wickedly inappropriate banter, and heroes you want to alternately strangle and kiss—all mixed up in the intrigue and turmoil of the Napoleonic wars.
When not traveling to exotic locations ‘for research’, Kate leads a double life as a fine art appraiser and on-screen antiques expert for several TV shows in the UK. She splits her time between Illinois and her native England and writes despite three inexhaustible children and a husband who has flatly refused to read any of her books ‘unless she hits the NY Times Bestseller list.’ It is—naturally—her fervent desire to force the semi-illiterate, number-loving cynic to do so. He still owes her that dollar.
Kate loves to hear from readers. Contact her on Twitter @katebateman, Facebook, Pinterest, or via her website at www.kcbateman.com
When a bookish codebreaker and a dashing spy are reunited in this steamy historical romance from the author of To Steal a Heart, their lives depend on their ability to resist temptation. But fate is a mistress who cannot be denied…
In the war against France, Heloise Hampden is a high-value asset to the Crown, but when she cracks the enemy’s most recent communication, French agents are sent to kill her. It’s the agent assigned to protect Heloise who poses the greatest threat to her heart, however: William de l’Isle, Viscount Ravenwood. Heloise has quarreled with the man they call Raven since childhood, yet always maintained a chaste distance. She’s sure nothing will change, thanks to the disfiguring scar on her face.
Nothing has changed. Raven still wonders how Hell-cat Hampden’s lithe body would feel pressed against his, but for the mission he must remind himself that the woman takes more pleasure in ancient languages than she does in seduction. His imprisonment six years ago broke him in a way that makes the prospect of love impossible—he’s a shadowed Hades pining for sun-kissed Persephone. Still, his heart beats like mad whenever he’s within ten paces of Heloise, and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe—even if that means taking her to Spain as an unwilling hostage.
Protecting her from danger will be a challenge; protecting her from desire will be pure agony. . .
Love this recipe! And her story sounds wonderful, too! Thanks again, Kate, for sharing your tasty recipe with us.
Stay tuned for more information in the upcoming weeks about my new haunting, bewitching love story series, Secrets of Roseville, which will be launching soon!
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