Grown-Up Birthday Cake: Lemon Pine Nut Torte

One of the best things about a birthday is, of course, the cake! I love layer cakes as much as the next girl, but when it’s just Eric and I, I like to bake cakes in my springform pan–it adds a touch of elegance to a single-layer cake!

One of our dear friends gave us Dorie Greenspan‘s Baking: From My Home to Yours as a wedding gift, and I love it! Eric has come home from work on more than one occasion to find me curled up with it in our thinking chair;) When I saw her recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake, I knew it would be the perfect thing for my birthday.

I used pine nuts instead of almonds for the topping, and they paired so nicely with the lemon! I omitted almond extract, but otherwise I left the recipe unchanged because Dorie is a genius (Incidentally, her Baking with Dorie App just came out, and if I had an iAnything, I would get it!)

One of her awesome pointers is to work the lemon zest into the sugar before you add anything else; this way, the sugar is infused with the flavor: amazing! I will be trying my hand at some different infusions soon!

This cake is also incredibly quick to make: just a few minutes to put it together, and about half an hour in the oven. This was very good, since I did not have much afternoon left to bake it and get ready for dinner!

The cake is perfectly moist and sweet, with the zing of lemon and the richness of the pine nuts: the perfect birthday cake for a grown-up (if that is what I am!)

Lemon Pine Nut Torte
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan‘s recipe in Baking: From My Home to Yours

1 c sugar (plus a bit more for topping)
Zest of one lemon
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/8 cup pine nuts (or more, if you like!)

-Heat oven to 350 degrees F, and butter a 9″ springform pan (you could also a use a cast-iron skillet, cake pan, or pie pan–whatever you have handy!)
-Pour the sugar into a medium bowl and work the lemon zest into it with your fingers until the sugar is moist and smells like lemon heaven.
-Whisk in the eggs one at a time until well blended.
-Whisk in the salt and vanilla.
-Switch to a spatula to mix in the flour and then the melted butter.
-Pour batter into pan and scatter the pine nuts over the top, along with a little sugar.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes (mine needed the full 30, but I srated checking it at 25), until the top and sides are golden brown.
-Let cool for 5 minutes, and then scrape the sides of the pan with a knife before you release the spring.
-If it’s your birthday, cut yourself a slice, stick a candle in it, and make a wish!

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