We made this almond cake for our local clergy meeting and it was enjoyed by all. I must say, my favorite part of it was the divine aroma my house was steeped in–all the way to the third floor–while it was cooking.
This is an easy to make, simply straight-forward dessert, that has depth of flavor, but no bells and whistles. It is perfect to offer on a winter Wednesday afternoon. In a different season, it would be wonderful with a fresh raspberry sauce…
When buying almond paste, you want the kind in the box. Compare the ingredients of the one in the box to the kind in the can and you’ll see why. The can is fructose corn syrup and the box is actually made of almonds.
1 1/3 cups sugar
8 ounces almond paste
3/4, plus 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup organic butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
powdered sugar for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 325ºF
Grease a 9- or 10-inch cake pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
In 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.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt.
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.
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.
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, but do not over mix. (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 over beat it.)
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center.
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 plate. Sift some powdered sugar on the top, and serve.
This cake will keep for four days at room temperature, well-wrapped. It can also be frozen for up to two months.