Italian Almond Cake
Ahh Italian Almond Cake! If you've had the pleasure of eating it, then you will know just how aromatic it smells. I once made it for my boss who served it at his dinner party. The next day he told me that before being eaten, the cake was passed around the table for everybody to inhale the intoxicating almond scent. It's like almond heaven! I didn't have too much trouble buying almond paste when I was in New York. But here in Auckland, it was a different story. I called every specialty store close to home and nobody had it. I tried looking online but the shipping made it far too expensive. In the end, the easiest (and also cheapest) way was to make it myself with a food processor. I have attached a link with the recipe I used. Keep in mind that almond paste is not marzipan. Marzipan has twice as much sugar as almond paste and is not as delicate. So to get the best bang for your buck, I definitely recommend making your own. Almond paste gets better after sitting in the fridge, so I suggest making it at least a day or two before you want to make the cake. Then let it come to room temperature before using it. Another thing to note is the sliced almonds that go on top of the cake: the first time I made this, most of the almonds sunk inside the cake while baking and very few were left on top. I rectified this by only placing half of the almonds on before putting it in the oven, then sprinkling the rest of them on in the last 10 minutes of baking. I like to serve it with some fresh berries and a hot cuppa. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from: abellasorella.com
8 oz (226 g) almond paste. I used this recipe
1 cup granulated sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
Grated zest of one lemon (can substitute orange)
2/3 cup cake flour, sifted *see notes
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups sliced almonds
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 162 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit). Line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan and the paper.
- Place the almond paste and sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, cream the paste and sugar until the paste has been uniformly broken up into small soft granules.
- Add the butter and lemon zest and cream until mixture is somewhat light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the almond extract and combine. The batter should be creamy.
- Add the sifted cake flour to the mixture and gently incorporate it using a rubber spatula. Do not overmix, just continue to fold in the flour until no white streaks remain.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Scatter about 1/2 cup of the sliced almonds on the top of the cake. Bake for about an hour. In the last 10 minutes of baking, remove the cake and scatter the remaining cup of almonds, then return to the oven. This will prevent them from all falling to the bottom of the cake. You want a heavy coating of almonds! The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool cake on a wire rack. After 30 minutes, carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake and remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow cake to cool completely before removing the bottom of the pan.
- Once cooled completely, carefully remove the bottom of the cake pan and the parchment paper. Dust with confectioners sugar and serve.
Notes: 1. If you don't have cake flour, measure out 1 cup of all-purpose flour, then remove 2 tablespoons. Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (cornflour). Sift 5 times (yes, 5!). From this, measure 2/3 cup for the recipe. 2. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container.