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This exquisite recipe came to The Times in a 2001 article by Amanda Hesser about the first meal her now mother-in-law, Elizabeth Friend, prepared for her. The meal ended with this simple almond cake. Ms. Hesser wrote: "It had a crust, fragile like a dry leaf, that led to a moist, downy layer of ground almonds and sugar. It was a perfect dessert. And it punctuated one of the great meals of my life." It's not the prettiest cake in the world - Ms. Friend called it "the Shar-Pei of cakes" because it crumbles on the edges and falls in the middle - but it is flawless otherwise. If you care about looks, dust it with confectioners' sugar and top it with fresh berries as we've done in the picture. It also improves with age and can be made 1 to 2 weeks ahead. Store it covered in or out of the fridge. Finally, this recipe makes two 8-inch cakes, so give one away or freeze one for a rainy day.

Provided by Amanda Hesser

Categories     cakes, dessert

Time 1h45m

Yield 2 8-inch cakes, 8 servings each

Number Of Ingredients 10

2 sticks butter, softened, more for buttering pan
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (measured after sifting)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7-ounce tube almond paste
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon baking soda
Confectioners' sugar, for sifting over cake


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter sides and bottoms of 2 8-inch cake or springform pans; line sides and bottoms with parchment paper. Butter paper. Place pans in freezer.
  • Sift flour and salt into a small bowl. Set aside. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, beat butter and granulated sugar at high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add almond paste, a little at a time at medium speed, and beat 8 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, and almond extract. Mix sour cream and baking soda and add to butter mixture. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture, just until blended.
  • Divide batter between prepared pans and spread evenly. Bake about 40 minutes to an hour, until tops are golden and spring back when lightly pressed and cakes shrink from sides of the pans. Cool in pans on wire rack. Remove sides of pans and remove paper. When ready to serve, sift confectioners' sugar on top and slice like pie.

Nutrition Facts : @context http, Calories 661, UnsaturatedFat 16 grams, Carbohydrate 76 grams, Fat 38 grams, Fiber 2 grams, Protein 7 grams, SaturatedFat 19 grams, Sodium 326 milligrams, Sugar 49 grams, TransFat 1 gram

Ahmed Kabeer
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This cake is a great make-ahead dessert. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Hariparsad Oli
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I love the delicate almond flavor of this cake. It's the perfect dessert for a summer party.

Salil Ass
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This cake is a bit time-consuming to make, but it's worth the effort. It's so delicious and moist.

MD Naimur Rahman
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I've made this cake several times, and it's always a hit. It's the perfect dessert for any occasion.

Elizabeth Ndeikwiila
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This cake is so easy to make, and it's always a crowd-pleaser.

Md Yeasin Hasan Md Yeasin Hasan
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I'm not a big fan of almond cake, but this recipe changed my mind. It's moist and flavorful, and the almond flavor is just right.

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This cake is a great way to use up leftover egg whites. It's also a good option for people with gluten sensitivities.

File Tech
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I love this recipe! It's so easy to make and the cake always turns out perfectly. I've made it for birthdays, potlucks, and even just for a snack.

Farhan Suleman
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This cake is perfect for a special occasion. It's elegant and delicious, and it's sure to impress your guests.

Shaleem David
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The cake was a bit too sweet for my taste, but overall it was still a good recipe.

Johannes Ndamonouwa
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This cake was a disappointment. It was dry and bland, and the almond flavor was barely noticeable. I wouldn't recommend this recipe.

Rehan Parvaz
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I wasn't sure how this cake would turn out, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was light and fluffy, with a delicate almond flavor. I'll definitely be making it again.

Meher Khan
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This cake is so moist and flavorful! The almond extract really shines through. I'll definitely be making this again.

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I've tried many almond cake recipes, but this one is by far the best. It's incredibly easy to make and always turns out perfect.

Billie Mufakosi
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This almond cake was divine! The texture was moist and fluffy, and the almond flavor was wonderfully pronounced. It was a hit with my family and friends.

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