When I told my husband that I was baking a cake, from scratch, lights lit up in his eyes.

“A sheet cake?”, he asked.


“Oh, well, what flavor frosting will it have?”.

“It won’t have any”.

“Well, then, I’ll eat it, but that’s not really a cake, is it?”

And that brings me to my novice baking question – what exactly is the difference between a cake and a torte? According to Wikipedia, a torte is a cake with many layers. Not so here. At Baking 911, they say a torte is a cake with little to no flour. Well, this torte has 3 & 3/4 cups of it.

What I can tell you about this cake/torte is this: it is rich, lemony, buttery, and delicious. This is not the kind of dessert you would present as a birthday cake, but rather one that begs to be served with a hot cup of tea at 4 in the afternoon. I might even put it out as part of a brunch or lunch buffet, or maybe sliced very thin after dinner with a small glass of limoncello on the side.

La Torta Della Giovane Sara
from Jamie Oliver’s book – Jamie’s Italy


1 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus a little for the pan
3 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 eggs, preferably organic
2 cups sugar
zest and juice of one lemon
1 & 1/4 ounce packet active dried yeast
3 & 1/2 ounces pine nuts


Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 12 inch (I used a 10 inch) springform pan and line it with a disc of waxed paper. Sprinkle the waxed paper with a little bit of the flour. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, then mix the yeast with the melted butter. Add this to the eggs, with the sugar, remaining flour, and the lemon zest and juice. Mix together well and pour into the cake pan. Scatter the pinenuts over the top and bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes (I baked it for 45) or until golden.


I have to admit, I was a bit worried when my batter was so thick. My husband had to help me by holding the mixing bowl while I scraped everything into the springform pan, but at least it shows off the lovely yellow color I originally had in mind when preparing this torte for the Winos and Foodies Taste of Yellow Event:


And the recipe certainly didn’t need the 3 1/4 ounces of pine nuts it called for – 1 oz more than sufficed:



Here it is looking beautiful, hot out of the oven:



Springform pans are amazing! I purchased a cheapie one especially for this recipe.


This recipe, from Jamie’s Italy, has been dog-earred for a few months now. I had purchased all the necessary items and ingredients for making it a week or so ago, conveniently right before I decided that with “little sundress” season fast approaching, I needed to start following the Weight Watchers Points plan again. (Is it possible to be a foodie AND be on Weight Watchers? Discuss…). Anyone care to guess how many points one slice of this cake would be, if cut into 10 pieces? Drumroll please……FOURTEEN POINTS. 14! For anyone who has no idea what that means, my point maximum for the day is TWENTY. Maybe it has something to do with the two entire sticks of butter in the recipe. So, one slice of this cake and a chicken breast, and I am good for the day. Ummmmm, I can’t imagine ANY cake being worth that, unless, of course, Jamie Oliver were to hand feed it to me himself. I gave up 2 points that day to take a large bite, while the rest was enjoyed by my husband and co-workers. Would I make it again? Absolutely… but I think I will save it for sweater season.