Lemon Almond Cake {Dolce di Amalfi}

On our recent trip to Amalfi, we enjoyed our share of seafood, but we also tried to keep some room for dessert. The sweets of the Campania region are famous, and one of my favorites is the lemon flavored almond cake from Amalfi. We took a day trip to Capri while staying in Positano, and while strolling through the center of Capri we came across an amazing pasticceria (pastry shop) with a mouth-watering window display.

Not being able to help ourselves we went in a bought two small cakes, one Torte Caprese (chocolate almond cake), and this one, Dolce di Amalfi made from lemons and ground almonds. Although chocolate anything always interests me, the vibrant flavor of the lemon cake was one I couldn’t get out of my mind once we returned home to Umbria.

I brought home a bag full of Amalfi lemons that I used to make this cake. I combined a couple of recipes and decided to use one whole lemon, skin and all in this cake. The cake comes together in minutes because you can make it entirely in your food processor, uses a minimal amount of sugar, and includes heart-healthy olive oil instead of butter.

Although you could top this cake with a light lemon glaze if you so choose, it only needs a powdering of confectioners sugar which is how they make it in Capri. If you wanted to make this cake a little more elegant when entertaining, you could top slices with a dollop of whipped cream and a spoonful of fresh berries.

I also plan on making small, individual cakes for serving at my next dinner party. This cake is very moist with a wonderful texture due to the use of the almonds. Although I used what ingredients I had onhand, you could make this cake gluten free by using gluten-free cornmeal and flour.


Capri, where I first experienced Dolce di Amalfi!

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 

Lemon Almond Cake {Dolce di Amalfi}

Lemon Almond Cake {Dolce di Amalfi}

Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup Medium Ground Cornmeal
  • 1/2 Cup Light Farro Flour (Or All-purpose Flour)
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Blanched Almonds
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Large Lemon
  • 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 2 Large Eggs At Room Temperature
  • 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract


  • Powdered Sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F, and spray a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor with a steel blade, and pulse the almonds with the sugar, until the almonds are finely ground.
  4. Cut the ends off of the lemon, and then cut the rest of it into chunks (including the remaining peel), discarding any seeds.
  5. Add the lemon to the almond mixture and process until blended.
  6. Add the olive oil, milk, and eggs, and process for 1 minute.
  7. Add the cornmeal mixture and pulse until mixed.
  8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
  10. Once completely cool, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar.

Did you make this recipe?

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  1. Hi! I wanted to ask: do we have to peel the skin off the lemon before adding it to the almond meal?
    Thanks 🙂

      1. This recipe sounds delicious. Just to clarify before I make it, do you mean we cut the ends off the lemon and discard them, then cut the remaining lemon with peel into chunks? No pith removed? 

        Thank you!

  2. Hello Deborah,

    Just wandering if while in Amalfi coast you tried the Ricotta e pera, (pear cheese cake)? I fell in love with it!

    Can’t find it anywhere in Montreal (Canada).

    Thanks for sharing your trips with us it is always interesting.


  3. Hello, Deborah,

    I enjoy your posts and especially like this one.
    The lemon cake recipe sounds delicious (one I will try) and
    I’m happy to see you are suggesting how to make it Gluten Free !

    I enjoy baking with olive oil and usually I cut the amount of sugar
    in a recipe in half, depending. It’s much healthier.

    Thanks for sharing you food and travels with us.

  4. Made this for the first time today for a dinner party. Everyone loved it and they requested that I make it again for future gatherings. I’ll happily oblige!

  5. Deborah, this is a fantastic cake…it turned out perfectly on the first try.
    I’ve made a lot of your recipes, and like them, but this confection really turned out well.

    I just chopped up the whole lemon in a food processor and made the cake w a mixer as I would another olive oil cake.
    I usually half your amount of sugar, but I was concerned about it being too tart. 3/4 cup was very sweet still, so I’ll try a little less next time.

  6. Thank you!  I needed a quick recipe for spur of the moment dinner guests and this hit the jackpot!  Easy peasy. Used one cup flour, no cornmeal, and reduced sugar by half and it was remarkably  delicious. Will make again and again.  

  7. Just made this and WOW! Definitely a keeper. My whole family is blown away. I knew we were in for a treat after blending up all the wet ingredients with the almond/lemon mixture and it came out like a custard. Made it so dense and moist. Love! Thank you so much! Excited to check out your other recipes xx

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