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Tarta de Santiago-Feast of St. James- July 25

The feast of St. James the Great, settled deeply into the “dog days” of summer, is a welcome punctuation in these often hot, dry days. St. James’ Day brings James' remarkable witness and wisdom to us, of course and as well as seaside breezes, fresh citrus, and candlelit summer nights. It’s a holiday that so beautifully illustrates the liturgical calendar's knack for traveling far & wide, grafting regional customs into its lineage of tradition and letting those regional customs reflect back into its canon of holiday celebration.

St. James' faith was legendary, along with his brother the Apostle John, these two "sons of thunder" were the first disciples to follow Jesus, and they were also present at the Transfiguration. Tradition tells us that James went on to preach the gospel in both the Holy Land and in Spain, where his influence still shines brightly. Then, after his martyrdom at the hand of Herod Agrippa I, legendary tales tell of St. James' body being returned to Spain, miraculously covered in shells after being shipwrecked. The presence of St. James' remains in the Santiago de Compostela have inspired generations of pilgrimages for well over a thousand years, and I find that continuity of devotion to be so moving. I'm reminded that we're all on a pilgrim journey, wherever we are, whatever our circumstances.

Enjoying the classic Tarta de Santiago (Spanish for "Cake of St. James") for the feast of St. James is both delicious and illuminating, calling to mind all of these elements of his devotion! Spanish for "Cake of St. James," this humble tarta evokes the saint's ties with Spain, his miraculous appearance at the Battle of Clavijo, hence, the sword-pointed Cross of St. James imprinted on the cake, and his association with pilgrimage, if you walk the Camino de Santiago today, you can still find tartas for sale at every cafe and rest stop on the way!


This flavorful almond cake dates back to the Middle Ages, though the earliest written reference hails from 1577 under the name Torta Real, or "royal cake," at the time. It's simple, quick, and perfect for a hot summer day!

(Writing and Recipe by: Kristin Haakenson)



St. James cake, tarta de santiago, for his feast day. Liturgy Kitchen recipe for liturgical living.


I am so honored to have Kristin from Hearthstone Fables share her recipe for the feast of St. James. As a previous Camino pilgrim this feast day and cake are near and dear to my heart. A big, warm thank you for being a guest contributor at Liturgy Kitchen.


St. James Cake, Tarta de Santiago, for the feast of St. James. Catholic cooking and liturgical living with His Girl Sunday.

tarta, st. james, spanish cake


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 30 minutes

Yields: 8-10 slices of cake



Ingredients

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • Zest from one lemon

  • Optional: 1 tbsp grape liquor (called orujo is traditional)

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 tbsps powdered sugar (for dusting the top)

  • St. James Cross Stencil, download below


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Download PDF • 291KB

 


St. James Cake, Tarta de Santiago, for the feast of St. James. Catholic cooking and liturgical living with His Girl Sunday.

(Photo: Hearthstone Fables)


Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350F.

  • Grease the sides and bottom of a round cake pan.

  • Mix together the 4 eggs and 1 cup sugar, until somewhat frothy.

  • Stir in the lemon zest. If using liquor, add 1 tbsp liquor and gently stir.

  • Add the 2 cups almond flour and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to the egg mixture and stir gently.

  • Pour batter into cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

  • When completely cool, place a stencil of the Cross of St. James in the middle of the cake.

  • Put powdered sugar into a fine-mesh strainer and gently tap to release the sugar over the top of the cake.

  • Carefully remove the stencil when done.


St. James Cake, Tarta de Santiago, for the feast of St. James. Catholic cooking and liturgical living with His Girl Sunday.

(Photo: Hearthstone Fables)


St. James Cake, Tarta de Santiago, for the feast of St. James. Catholic cooking and liturgical living with His Girl Sunday.

(Photo: Hearthstone Fables)


As a thank you to the His Girl Sunday readers, Kristin has offered us a discount code for her St. James printable paper scene.


Here's the discount code for 75% off her St James printable!

Code: HGS2023


Did you make this recipe? If so we would love to see it, drop a picture in the comment or send it to us on social media.


Want to see more of the great liturgical and seasonal insights of Kristin? Go follow her!


And if you're not following along with the Liturgy Culture & Kitchen community, I welcome you to join us.


For more resources on building Catholic tradition, check out the blog section of my website or follow me on Facebook or Instagram to see what Catholic things I am doing to make our day to day life more joyful.



Catholic liturgical living resources and tradition from His Girl Sunday.


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