Thursday, June 17, 2010


I made a cake yesterday, only to learn that I had actually eaten it many times before. Am I amnesic?

Let me rewind a little so you can get the full story, before thinking that I may have a memory problem. Yesterday night, we were having dinner with family friends and a chocolate mousse was the planned dessert we were set to bring. When I woke up, I was welcomed by not-yet-set mousse to accompany my donut holes--I can only indulge in those once every few years, so why not go all out?

My maman suggested we bring a visitandine cake to go alongside the mousse, to which I replied that although I remembered hearing a lot about it, I didn't think I'd ever had some.

Cue surprised look, in addition to "Are you kidding? You've had it dozens of times."

Now, my first thought was that I usually don't remember unmemorable desserts. The visitandine, though, has what it takes to be completely memorable: whipped egg whites for a fluffy texture, and ground almonds paired with lemon zest for a delectable taste. Memory loss, then? I think my childhood mind was so obsessed with the colors on cakes (my pink birthday cake, for one) that the simple-looking desserts didn't strike me as much, as amazing as they may have tasted. 

With that in mind, I set out to bake the visitandine, anxious to re-taste this family staple. For those who know of financiers, the visitandine is often considered its ancestor and was created by the nuns of the Visitandine order. The visitandine, however, is often baked in a classic cake pan by many home bakers.

After a great dinner, I sunk my teeth into a wedge of cake. I still can't understand why I don't remember ever having it--it's delicious. 

It packs a lot of flavor on its own, but is also a great accompaniment to fruit for the summer. Plus, it's absolutely easy to make, leaving extra time on your hands. You know, time to think about why you forget things all the time. Hmm. I forgot.

serves 6 to 8

zest of 1 lemon
5 egg whites
1 stick (1/2 c.) butter, melted
1 c. flour
1 c. almond flour
1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, setting a rack in the middle of the oven.

In a large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest together until fragrant. Sift flour and almond flour into the bowl, and mix to combine.

Add melted butter and combine. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Add 1/4 of the egg whites to the almond mixture and stir to combine. Delicately incorporate the remaining egg whites.

Fold batter into a greased 9-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes. Cool before serving.

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ImplausibleYarn said...

Oh yum! I've been interested in deceptively simple cakes lately, great flavor without mountains of whipped chocolate frosting. Thanks for sharing.

Barbara said...

I love this cake, Lucie! And I have all the ingredients in my fridge. I need to take something to a dinner party this weekend too! Wouldn't this be wonderful with a light fruit sauce?

grace said...

i think we must remember the things we actually make AND eat much more clearly than things we simply eat. awesome cake, lucie. :)

Lucie said...

Barbara: I think that would be a perfect dessert! Let me know how you like it if you do make it!

Paris Pastry said...

I love this cake! I've made it by myself once. It's so buttery and yummy!

Ryan said...

Hi Lucie,

You mention donut holes in your latest post - as you know, England is not exactly the land of donuts. While I appreciate that donuts have a reputation for being 'sneaky hard' to make, I would very much like to have a go at it - could you post your donut hole recipe?


Cinnamon-Girl said...

I just love baking with almond flour! This sounds heavenly with the combo of lemon zest too. I bet it's lovely with fruit and cream.

Mary said...

I can imagine how good this must be with fruit. The Swedish people make an almond cake that is similar to this. It, too, is delicious. As an aside, when I first read the name of the cake it registered in this old brain as visit and dine. I thought there was a new magazine I'd missed. Thank goodness you cleared that up for me. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Kerstin said...

This sounds so love with the almond flour in it -yum!

Cinnamon-Girl said...

Hi Lucie, Stopped by again to respond to your question about the soup. I think it would be OK cold - the only concern I have is that the broth and coconut milk separate a little when cold. A thorough whisking could probably take care of it. Hope you're having a great weekend!

pierre said...

il me semble que ce gâteau est nancéen! me trompé-je?
Bravo en tous cas !! Pierre

Juliana said...

Wow, this is new to sure looks so the almond flour in it....must taste great with a cup of tea :-)

Lucie said...

Pierre, I had no idea this cake is from Nancy! Interesting to hear, especially since I spend all of my summers right next to there when I was little and now go as often as possible!

Ingrid said...

Sounds lovely definitely not one I'd soon forget, though I'm a sucker for almond.

Seo Services said...

simple but very nice wow looking so nice ....

Pierre. said...

Visitandine is gorgeous also if you use hazelnuts instead of almonds My aunty used to make it. Tip: pinch of salt in your egg whites before fluffing. Indeed I think this recipe comes from the Vosges area of France. Absolutely superb cake!