Friday, July 2, 2010
Change of Plans!...Almond Cake
I love almonds and one layer light cakes to accompany fruit or to have alone with a cup of tea in the summer so when I saw this almond cake, I knew I just had to try it. I was so excited when I read where it came from that I nixed the pound cake I was supposed to make for my guests this weekend and substituted this. The cake keeps for four days tightly wrapped so it will be great to bake ahead and have around for when they start arriving Friday night!
This cake is best made in the food processor. If using a stand mixture, use the paddle attachment and let the mixer run until the almond paste is finely broken up.
The butter was reduced (by David Leibowitz) from the original recipe, which had two more ounces for a total of 10 ounces, since some felt the original cake was a bit heavy and too-buttery. This is how I also made it but if you do wish to go that route, I'd be interested in knowing what you think.
You will need one 9-inch or 10-inch (23-25 cm) cake
1 1/3 cups sugar
8 ounces almond paste
3/4, plus 1/4 cup flour
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9- or 10-inch (23-25 cm) cake or spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture resembles sand.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Once the almond paste is completely broken up, add the cubes of butter and the vanilla and almond extracts, then process until the batter is very smooth and fluffy.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, processing a bit before the next addition. (You may wish to open the machine and scrape the sides down to make sure the eggs are getting fully incorporated.)
After you add all the eggs, the mixture may look curdled. Don't worry; it'll come back together after the next step.
6. Add half the flour mixture and pulse the machine a few times, then add the rest, pulsing the machine until the drying ingredients are just incorporated, but do not overmix. (You can also transfer the batter to a bowl and mix the dry ingredients in, which ensures the dry ingredients get incorporated evenly and you don't overbeat it.)
7. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center.
8. Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, loosing the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan.
Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and set on a cake plate until ready to serve. (Tip: Warm the bottom of the cake pan directly on the stovetop for just a few seconds, which will help the cake release.)
Storage: This cake will keep for four days at room temperature, well-wrapped. It can also be frozen for up to two months.
Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere David Leibowitz