Remember last month when I attempted my first lattice top pie? If you saw that post you might also remember that the recipe called for almond paste. I was too cheap to buy it, so I made my own, which wound up being really easy with the aid of my food processor. The only problem? Very little was needed for the pie, so I had a ton leftover. I was determined not to let the leftover almond paste get pushed to the back of my fridge and forgotten about like far too many other remnants in my kitchen.
I searched through my cookbook collection for ideas first, and though I found some promising recipes, none had the simplicity I was hoping for. I didn't want to have to buy any additional ingredients, nor did I want to spend an entire afternoon making one recipe. I turned to Google, and within a minute or two had found this recipe for almond cake from David Lebovitz. Its rustic appearance drew me in immediately; frosted layer cakes have their place, but sometimes nothing beats a simple, comforting cake finished with nothing more than a light dusting of confectioners' sugar.
Two cool things about this cake - first, it's made in the food processor and as much as I hate cleaning that appliance, it was really fun (and quick!) to see the cake batter come together in it. Also, volume measurements were provided, so I didn't have to dirty lots of measuring cups and bowls. I loved that metric units were used, I find them much more convenient than the US equivalents. I can see myself making this cake over and over again - it's moist and rich with lots of almond flavor and paired perfectly with a few ripe summer berries. I kept just one slice for myself and shared the remainder with Shane's mom for her birthday; I heard it was a big hit there too! One quick note - this cake rises A LOT in the oven. Mine climbed all the way up the sides of the pan to the point where I feared it might overflow. Fortunately, that didn't happen and it turned out beautifully. Hopefully that'll provide some peace of mind if you turn on the oven light and peek while things bake like I do :)
from David Lebovitz (who adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere)
1 cup (140 g) flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups (265 g) sugar
8 oz (225 g) almond paste
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray with flour.
Whisk 3/4 cup (105 g) of the flour, the baking powder, and salt together in a small bowl.
Combine the sugar, almond paste and the remaining 1/4 cup (35 g) of the flour in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture is crumbly like sand. Add the butter and both extracts to the bowl and process until the batter is smooth and fluffy. One at a time, add the eggs, pulsing a few times to incorporate after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add half of the dry ingredients to the bowl and pulse two or three times to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time then add the remaining dry ingredients and pulse a few more times, just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 60-65 minutes, or until the cake is a dark golden brown and springs back when pressed in the center. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and run a thin knife around the outside to loosen the cake from the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then remove the outer ring. Dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.
(Wrapped tightly, the cake will keep at room temperature for about 4 days.)
Makes one 9-inch cake