Saturday, 4 August 2012

Almond Cake with Tart Raspberry Sauce

When I eat chocolate ice cream, I want it to taste like chocolate. When I have lemonade, I expect the taste of lemons. In my opinion, there are few things more disappointing than biting into a slice of almond cake, anticipating the aromatic, comforting taste of almonds, and discovering that's it's just a vanilla cake. With some sliced almonds on top. That is not an almond cake, whatever the recipe might say.

But this, this is definitely not that cake.

David Lebovitz's almond cake is sweet, moist, and buttery, full of the heady flavor of almonds. The flavors really come into their own as the cake sits, so it's even better after a day or two. This is a proper almond cake.

The tartness of the raspberry sauce perfects complements the sweetness of the cake but definitely isn't necessary. This cake is pretty fabulous on its own.

Almond Cake with Tart Raspberry Sauce
recipe from David Lebovitz

1 1/3 cups sugar
8 oz almond paste (not marzipan which is sweeter)
1 cup flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks, 225 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325° F (162° C)

Grease and flour a 9 or 10 inch cake pan with sides at least 2 inches high (because the case rises during baking so a shorter, layer pan might not contain it). I used a springform pan, which made the cake much easier to remove after baking.

In a food processor, pulse together the sugar, almond paste, 1/4 of the flour until clumps of almond paste have broken up and the mix has the consistency of very course sand. I used a powerful blender (due to a lack of food processor) and mixed together small amounts at a time. It took quite a bit of time because I had to keep scraping sugary almond mixture off the blades so a food processor is a better bet (but not the only option).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the flour (3/4 cups) with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Tip the almond-sugar mix into another bowl and mix in the softened butter until smooth (mixing well will ensure that the almond paste is even more thoroughly combined). Next add the vanilla and almond extracts and then the eggs, one at a time.

Once the mixture is fully combined, begin adding the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake in preheated oven for about 65 minutes. The top of the cake should be a dark golden brown.

Allow the cake to cool in the pan before removing.

Raspberry Sauce:

1 pint fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon brown sugar

In a small saucepan, slowly heat the water and raspberries, stirring frequently. As the berries liquefy, stir in the sugar. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible temperature and allow to simmer and thicken for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Can be refrigerated for a few days once cool.

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