In one of the book clubs I belong to we meet once a month for Sunday brunch at different local restaurants. It is so nice to go to a “grownup” restaurant with lovely women and good conversation. This month though, we are breaking from our norm and having a nightime gathering at one of the members house. Everyone is bringing something, whether it be appetizers or cocktails. Our host is supplying the main course, which is pulled pork with carmelized onions and figs. I am going to bring individual almond cakes layered with a fresh raspberry filling and whipped cream. This recipe is a real keeper.I made this cake this past Christmas and for my birthday as well. OMG,it is so moist and delicious! The original cake recipe is from David Lebowitz, and I have only made a few changes. For my birthday last week I baked it in an 8 inch round pan and made 2 layers out of it, but you can bake this in a 9 inch round for a thicker single layer. Tonight I am baking this in a 9 x 13 pan so I will end up with about a 1 inch layer.When changing the size of your baking pan please remember to change your baking time accordingly. In a 9 in pan it takes about 1 hour, an 8 inch about 5 minutes longer and in the 9×13 it takes 30 minutes. This cake is nice because you can serve it plain or dressed up and have it be just as good either way. For tonight I am making individual cakes for everyone, but do what feels comfortable for you.
This reason this cake is so delicious is due to the fact that it is made with almond paste (which is NOT marzipan), a tasty delight made of ground blanched almonds and sugar. There are many recipes out there for making homemade almond paste but I am lucky enough to have a market here that makes it during the holidays and I buy a few pounds and freeze it.
Yes, freeze it. I find it freezes really nicely as long as you have it very well wrapped. When I need to use some I grate it on the large holes of a box grater and I find it mixes in with the other ingredients much easier as opposed to when I try to break it into small chunks. Almond paste is not cheap, but certainly a pleasure not to be denied. Other than the paste, it is a very simple cake, which is why it is sooooo good.
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted, for garnish
1 1/3 cups (265 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (4 oz) almond paste (not marzipan)
10 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
7 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1 cup (250 g)all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and position the rack to the center of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch cake pan with a round of parchment paper, or butter the pan and dust it lightly with flour, tapping out any excess.
2. With an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and almond paste until the paste is finely broken up (the sugar crystals helps break the paste into pieces-so don’t add the butter yet!)
3. Now add the butter and beat for a few minutes until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, stir together the eggs with a fork and slowly add it to the batter as you beat. Add the vanilla and almond extracts.
4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the batter until just incorporated.
5. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 1 hour(depending on your cake pan) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The baking time may take a bit longer due to the variation in different brands of almond paste.
Cool the cake on a rack before serving. This cake is extremely moist and will keep well for up to a week if well-wrapped.
2 C fresh or frozen raspberries
1/4 c granulated sugar
1 tsp corn starch , mixed with 1 Tbsp cold water to make a slurry
Heat the berries and sugar over medium heat for 10 minutes to break down the berries and dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium high and add the cornstarch slurry, stirring quickly, for 1 minute. Take off the heat and cool completely. Strain through a sieve to take out the seeds (optional).
Stabilized Whipped Cream
1 tsp unflavored gelatin, sprinkled over 2 Tbsp warm water. Wait 5 minutes then stir to dissolve all of the gelatin. If it is still not dissolved, pop it into a microwave for 15 seconds-no more. Let cool for 15 minutes before starting the whipping cream.
2 C heavy cream (preferably not ultra pasteurized)
3 Tbsp sugar (if ou have caster sugar, use it)
Whip the heavy cream and sugar with the whisk attachment on your mixer (or by hand with a whisk) until it is to the soft peak stage. Add the dissolved gelatin and whisk for another minute.
Cut the cake with a 3 inch cutter. Slice each in half horizontally (or if you want bigger pieces leave as is). Brush the top of the bottom piece with the raspberry filling. Spread about 2 Tbsp of whipped cream over that and top with another piece of cake. Repeat with the raspberry filling and whipped cream. Topped with toasted almonds.