A version of carrot cake for the Passover seder or anytime. Filled with goodies (raisins, chopped nuts, coconut, and spices) held together with almond flour and a bit of matzo cake meal, it's aromatic and not too sweet.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with 1 -1/2 to 2-inch sides, place a piece of parchment on the bottom (cut to fit) and grease the parchment.
Lightly toast the almond flour and the chopped nuts in the oven (in separate pans), stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes.
Put the almond flour in a medium-sized bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar, the matzo cake meal, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the margarine or butter and the remaining 3/4 cup of granulated sugar for several minutes with an electric hand or stand mixer until they are light and fluffy. Then add the egg yolks, vanilla, almond extract, and the lemon zest, beating all those ingredients into the margarine or butter and sugar mixture until well combined.
Add to that mixture the dry (almond flour mixture) ingredients.
Mix in the shredded carrots, raisins, coconut, and chopped nuts. The batter is stiff and combining these ingredients is best done with a rubber or silicone spatula, rather than by continuing to use the mixer.
In another large bowl, beat the egg whites until they are just stiff. At the end, drizzle in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
Gently mix in 2 large dollops of the egg whites into the batter. Then fold the rest of the egg whites in, just until the ingredients are combined. Do not be concerned if bits of the egg white remain visible; combining ingredients without deflating the egg whites means that the batter will not look totally uniform.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
For icing, add just a few drops of reserved lemon juice (or water) into the confectioners sugar, stir it until it is a spreadable but thick icing. If you need more liquid, add it sparingly. Drizzle the icing over the cake.
No almond flour? It's easy to make. Just put blanched almonds in a food processor. Buzz until it is finely ground and bingo - almond flour! The commercially prepared is more finely ground, but for this recipe, it really doesn't matter.
If you have sweetened, rather than unsweetened coconut, technically, to keep the sweetness at the same level, you would decrease the sugar by about 1 teaspoon. That is the reverse of how you make unsweetened coconut into sweetened. But given how little coconut is in the cake, if you don't change the amount of sugar, you probably won't notice the difference.
Toasting the almond flour and chopped nuts brings out their flavor, giving the cake an even more deliciously intense aroma than it would have with untoasted nuts.
When you beat the egg whites, make sure the beaters (and bowl) are thoroughly clean and dry. For tips on whipping egg whites, see my post on that process.