Sunday, August 13, 2006

Almond Cake

Hmmm, this one is so good, it’s going into regular rotation without amendments of any kind.

It’s from Amanda Hesser’s Cooking for Mr. Latte. This is her cookbook memoir of meeting, courting and marrying her husband. It passes on the recipes from restaurants, family, friends and her own concoctions experienced in the stories she retells. This isn’t heavy reading, it’s fun, and light, and memorable. And the recipes are the kind you trust to be easy and useful because others have been refining them for years- kind of like the church cookbook fundraiser, except better. I recommend it for airplane reading (if you’re lucky enough to live in a country that will let you bring a book on a plane), or even a gift for someone going to visit New York City, where most of the stories take place. I gave it as a thank you gift for house sitting while I visited NYC.

The almond cake recipe is actually her mother-in-law’s, Elizabeth Friend. A.H. recommends ageing the cake for one to two weeks. We managed for one week, and it was worth it. Next time, maybe we’ll go for the two weeks. It’s good to have on hand for when you don’t have time (or ingredients or will) available to pull together something else (which is why I cut into it at one week).

We’re serving it straight, although it would be good with the confectioner’s sugar, or cream and fruit. It’s quite sweet and rich enough on its own, and its interesting oclouring and texture are rather pretty on their own.

Almond Cake
1 C butter
1 C sour cream, at room temperature
1 tsp baking soda
2 C all purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ C sugar
7 ounces almond paste
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 tsp almond extract
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting the cake.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Generously butter the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
3. Mix the sour cream with baking soda.
4. In another bowl, sift the flour and salt together.
5. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy.
6. Add the almond past, a little at a time, beating at medium for 8 minutes.
7. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time; mix until incorporated. It will look curdled.
8. Blend in the almond extract and sour cream mixture.
9. Mixing at low, gradually add the flour mixture; beat just until blended.
10. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake about 1 hour.
It is done when you press the top and it returns to its shape, and also shrinks from the sides of the pan.
11. Remove from the pan and cool on a cooling rack. It’s going to sink in the middle as it cools. It will look disappointing, but it will taste wonderful.Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve. Or wrap it up in plastic wrap or store in a can for one to two weeks, until you can't resist anymore.


Shayo said...

Mmmm, that DOES look good. I'm not sure I could wait a whole week to eat this though.

Anonymous said...

I bake everyday, and have made every cake imaginable. THIS IS THE BEST CAKE I HAVE EVER EATEN!!! If you're considering making it, you will not be disappointed. It's an expensive cake, using an entire tube of almond paste.

Anonymous said...

does one really need to wait a week? i was hoping to make it for tonight.

Anonymous said...

Nerine: Step 11 must be incorrect! No one else, including Amanda, tells you to remove the cake from the pan and cool on a rack. Do you mean: remove the pan from the oven and cool in the pan? It doesn't work otherwise.