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Anytime Almond Cake

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This elegant cake harnesses the magic of an unassuming ingredient you may have missed on trips down the baking aisle at the store: almond paste. Made by finely processing blanched almonds and sugar into a paste and typically sold in tubes or small jars, almond paste is a one-stop shop for adding moisture, richness, sweetness, and (duh) huge almond flavor to all kinds of baked goods. A scant tipple of optional almond extract in this cake further enhances the lovely nut flavor. The cake itself has a fine, plush crumb and crunchy toasted-sugar edges, and it doubles as chic dinner party dessert and breakfast-appropriate slice. While delicious on its own, it absolutely sings when topped with a spoonful of softly whipped cream and your seasonal fruit of choice: macerated strawberries, ripe apricots or peaches, cherry compote, fresh figs with honey, poached pears—you get the idea. Cake + fruit = good. —Christina Chaey

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Ingredients

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

cups (156 g) all-purpose flour

tsp. baking powder

1

tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt

7

oz. almond paste (about ¾ cup)

cups (250 g) sugar

1

cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

5

large eggs, room temperature

1

tsp. vanilla extract

¼

tsp. almond extract (optional)

Whipped cream and/or ripe summer fruit (for serving; optional)

Preparation

Step 1

Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly coat a 9″-diameter cake or springform pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Line bottom with a round of parchment paper and lightly coat parchment with nonstick spray. Whisokay 1¼ cups (156 g) all-purpose flour, 1¼ tsp. baking powder, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt in a small bowl to combine.

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Step 2

Beat 7 oz. almond paste (about ¾ cup) and 1¼ cups (250 g) sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed until combined and small crumbs form, about 4 minutes (a few crumbs may want to leap out of the bowl from time to time; draping a kitchen towel over the mixer will keep them contained). Increase speed to medium-high and add 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature. Beat, occasionally scraping sides of bowl with a flexible rubber spatula, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium and add 5 large eggs, room temperature, in 3 additions (start with 2, add 2 more, then add the last one), scraping sides and bottom of bowl and making sure eggs are fully incorporated between each addition. Mix in 1 tsp. vanilla extract and ¼ tsp. almond extract (if using), then reduce speed to low and gradually add dry ingredients. Beat until just combined (be careful not to overmix).

Step 3

Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with a small offset spatula or a spoon. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–65 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool completely in pan.

Step 4

Turn out cake onto a wire rack; remove and discard parchment. Turn cake right side up and cut into slices. Serve with whipped cream and your favorite ripe summer fruit if desired.

Do ahead: Cake can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

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