Dining out in Croatia. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Dining out in Croatia. (Photo by Patty Schied)

Cooking for Pleasure: Almond cake from a trip to Croatia

I should have probably titled this week’s column: “Eating For Pleasure.” My daughter, Sally and I spent the first two weeks of May traveling from Split, Croatia, down the Dalmation coast to Dubrovnik in the lovely small ship Bellisima.

The two of us, along with 32 other passengers ate our way down the warm sunny coast, consuming over a dozen different varieties of seafood, drinking the local wines and sampling their delightful liqueurs, fruits and vegetables.

Probably because of their diet (no fast food restaurants) and their reliance on walking everywhere, the people of Croatia who we saw throughout our trip were strong, tall and healthy. Too bad we don’t live that way.

A finished Croatian almond cake. (Photo by Patty Schied)

A finished Croatian almond cake. (Photo by Patty Schied)

As we travelled down the coast, the ship docked each afternoon at one of the many ancient towns and villages. We visited Trogir, Vis, Hvar and Korcula. Each one paved with cobblestones; the narrow streets often not wide enough for cars. Many had stone stairways leading up to ancient towers that loomed over them, obviously built centuries before as protection from invading armies

Every night after exploring, we ate at local restaurants, usually small ones run by families. Always on the menus were several kinds of fish, grilled vegetables and sometimes a black squid ink risotto. Sally loved the octopus salad. My mouth waters at the memories.

The almond cake recipe I have included is adapted from one we found in a Croatian cookbook. Adapted because some measurements were missing, directions unclear and ingredients listed in grams which had to be converted into ounces.

Sally and I each made this cake. It is delicious. Noticeably, it is both dairy free and gluten free. The aromatics of citrus, almonds and rosemary transform what might be a nondescript almond cake into an unforgettable dessert, a luxurious end to any company dinner. There is so much citrus used, both juice and peel, I recommend purchasing organic fruit. No point in serving a pesticide-infused cake.

Almond and rosemary cake with olive oil and citrus fruit


2 cups of thinly sliced almonds toasted until lightly browned in 375-degree oven for about 8 minutes. Check frequently to make sure they aren’t burned.

4 cups almond flour

½ tsp salt

1 Tablespoon baking powder

4 eggs

Zest of 4 organic lemons

Zest of 2 organic oranges

½ cup lemon juice

Juice of one orange

7 ounces of powdered sugar

1 cup of very fresh high-quality extra virgin olive oil (old or cheap olive oil will ruin the cake)

1 tablespoon of finely minced rosemary

Step one: Spray a 9 X 2 inch cake pan with cooking oil, then line with parchment paper and spray again.

Step two: When cool, finely grind the toasted sliced almonds. Combine the almonds, almond flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl.

Step Three: Beat the eggs, powdered sugar, lemon and orange zest until frothy. Finely chop the rosemary leaves and add them to the olive oil.

Step Four: Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Combine eggs with olive oil, orange and lemon juice. Add the dry ingredients, stirring until the batter is smooth.

Step Five: Spoon cake batter into the lined pan and bake for 60 minutes.

Test cake with a toothpick to see if it is done. If not, cook for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool on rack for ten minutes. Place another rack over the cake, turn it upside down, then remove from pan. Remove parchment paper. Let cool before serving.

Step Six: Place cake on serving plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, orange and lemon zest and a little minced rosemary. Orange zest flavored whipped cream is a delightful topping.

Note: This cake keeps well, assuming you don’t have guests who want seconds.

• Patty Schied is a longtime Juneau resident who studied at the Cordon Bleu in London, has cooked meals for both AWARE and the Glory Hall, and has written a cookbook. Cooking For Pleasure appears every other week in Capital City Weekly. Contact Patty Schied at patschied@gmail.com.

More photos by Patty Schied from Croatia

(Photo by Patty Schied)
(Photo by Patty Schied)
(Photo by Patty Schied)
(Photo by Patty Schied)
(Photo by Patty Schied)
(Photo by Patty Schied)

More in Neighbors

Jackie Renninger Park, which is scheduled to receive structural and safety improvements. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
Neighbors briefs

See design ideas for Jackie Renninger Park at June 24 public meeting… Continue reading

Students from Juneau Community Charter School listen to a story at the Skagway Public Library. (Photo provided by Clint Sullivan)
Neighbors: Letters of thanks

Thanks to the community of Skagway The K/1 class of Juneau Community… Continue reading

Donna Leigh is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Courtesy photo)
Living and Growing: Small things

Have you ever had a small pebble in your shoe? Very irritating,… Continue reading

Matushka Olga Michael, a Yup’ik woman from Kwethluk. (Photo provided by Maxim Gibson)
Living and Growing: A new Alaskan saint

“God is wonderful in His saints: the God of Israel is He… Continue reading

Dining out in Croatia. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Almond cake from a trip to Croatia

I should have probably titled this week’s column: “Eating For Pleasure.” My… Continue reading

Nick Hanson of the NBC show “American Ninja Warrior” kicks off the blanket toss at the 2020 Traditional Games in Juneau. (Lyndsey Brollini / Sealaska Heritage Institute)
Neighbors: Celebration begins Wednesday with mix of traditional and new events

Nearly 1,600 dancers from 36 dance groups scheduled to participate in four-day gathering.

“Curiosities of Alaska” by Junnie Chup, which won first place in Kindred Post’s 2024 statewide postcard art contest. (Photo courtesy of Kindred Post)
Neighbors briefs

Kindred Post announces 2024 statewide postcard art contest winners Kindred Post on… Continue reading

Tanya Renee Ahtowena Rorem at age 17. (Photo provided by Laura Rorem)
Living and Growing: ‘My name is Ahtowena’

My precocious two-year old broke loose from my grip and took off… Continue reading

The Pinkas Synagogue, the second-oldest building in Prague. (World Monuments Fund photo)
Living and Growing: Connecting to family ancestors through names of strangers on a wall in Prague

“Prague never lets you go…this dear little mother has sharp claws.” —… Continue reading

Individual eggplant parmesan rounds ready to serve. (Photo by Patty Schied)
Cooking for Pleasure: Individual eggplant parmesan rounds

These flavorful eggplant parmesans are a great side dish, especially served with… Continue reading

An aspiring knight relies on duct tape for his medieval battle gear during the Master’s Faire on July 16, 2022. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Gimme A Smile: Duct tape — an Alaskan’s best friend

Duct tape is an Alaskan tradition. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix… Continue reading