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Recipe: Almond Cake
Makes one 9- or 10-inch cake
This rich, moist almond cake is endlessly adaptable and will keep well for several days at room temperature. It can be served simply, with a dusting of powdered sugar. Or the finished cake can be split and served with a filling of raspberry or apricot jam and topped with a layer of toasted almonds, followed by powdered sugar. It also could be served with an almond glaze or a simple chocolate sauce. Fresh peaches or berries would also be natural accompaniments.
1 1/3 cups sugar
8 ounces almond paste
¾ cup plus ¼ cup flour
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, room temperature
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9- or 10-inch cake or springform 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 ¼ cup of flour until the almond paste is fine and the mixture resembles sand. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ¾ cup of flour, baking powder and salt.
3. 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 smooth and fluffy.
4. 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 fully mixed.) After you add all the eggs, the mixture may look curdled. Don’t worry; it will come back together after the next step.
5. Add half the flour mixture and pulse the machine a few times, then add the rest, pulsing the machine until the dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix). You can also transfer the batter to a bowl and mix the dry ingredients in, which ensures the dry ingredients are incorporated evenly and you don’t overbeat them.
6. Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press the center.
7. Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, loosening 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.
Adapted by the Baltimore Sun from “Chez Panisse Desserts” by Lindsay Shere