Almond Cake

 

Almond Cakesm1

 

This recipe recently appeared on a website that I read regularly, David Lebovitz’ site.

I’m a sucker for a great review and Lebovitz prefaces this recipe by writing that this cake is his “desert island” recipe, the one cake he would choose were he stranded. Who could resist trying a recipe with that kind of billing? Not me.

While Lebovitz lives (and cooks) in Paris now, his cooking roots extend back to the kitchen of the fabled Chez Panisse. This almond cake is his adapttion of a recipe by Lindsey Shere who was the executive pastry chef at the restaurant.

Interestingly, the batter for this cake is made entirely in a food processor. I’ve never done that before but it worked very well.

I made it this morning. I loved it, and I decided to pass my adaptation of the recipe along.

I would not hesitate to serve this cake at an elegant party. Or, of course, on a proper checkered tablecloth while stranded on a desert island.

Recipe: Almond Cake

1 1/3 C. sugar
8 ounces almond paste
3/4 C. , plus 1/4 C. flour (I used pastry flour)
1/ 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature (cubed)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 t. almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 325 degree F.

Prepare a 20 inch round cake pan or springform pan by buttering the pan and then putting a sheet of parchment paper on the bottom of the pan. (I used a springform pan with great success.)

Mix the sugar, almond paste and 1/4 C. of flour in the bowl of your food processor until the almond paste is totally incorporated and the overall mixture looks like sand.

Put the rest of the flour (3/4 C.) into a bowl and whisk in baking powder and salt. Set aside.

To the food processor bowl sugar/almond paste  mixture, add the cubes of room-temperature butter along with the vanilla and the almond extract. Process until the mixture is smooth. This took a bit of time for me in my Cuisinart. First, the mixture appeared to be trying to form a ball and then, when I kept the Cuisinart’s motor running, the mixture finally softened and formed a batter.

Add eggs one at a time to the processor bowl and process for a few seconds after each egg addition to fully incorporate the egg into the batter. The batter will look pretty thin after adding all the eggs.

Next, add  half of the flour mixture to the batter and mix to incorporate. Add the rest of the flour and mix. Only mix the flour into the batter until it is fully incorporated. Resist the temptation to  overmix the batter at this point.

Put the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-65 minutes until the cake is set and the top of the cake is a pretty brown color. At 45 minutes, test the cake by pressing the top to see if the cake is set. Mine wasn’t ready at this point. I used a wooden skewer to test the cake at 60 minutes. You want the skewer to come out clean, not covered in uncooked batter. At 60 minutes, I decided to give my cake about 5 minutes more. My cake took 65 minutes. The lesson here is to watch your cake carefully at the end of its cooking.

Remove the cake from the oven. Run a serrated knife around the edge of the cake pan to loosen the cake from the pan. Let cake sit on your counter until it is totally cool. When the cake is cool, invert it on a plate, remove the parchment paper, and then invert it again on a plate so that the pretty brown top is facing up. Dust the cake with powdered sugar and serve. Fresh berries make a good garnish.

Cook’s Notes: The almond flavor in this moist cake is wonderful. The cake has a very delicate texture. I enjoyed my first piece with a hot cup of Darjeeling tea. The hot tea made the flavor of the cake even more intense.

Enjoy.

Here is the link to Lebovitz’ site and to this spectacular recipe:

http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2010/06/almond-cake-recipe/


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