I was in the mood for a “summery” dessert when I came across this gem on serious eats. What’s more summery than a light cake with fruit preserves? Not much (except maybe some strawberry shortcake). Plus, I had been itching to use the almond paste that was waiting patiently in my pantry and this seemed like a perfectly good way to use it up, don’t you agree?
I’ve never baked with almond paste before, so I was very confused when the recipe called for a food processor. Apparently almond paste is more solid than pasty – who knew? In any event, the cake came together pretty quickly since I had everything called for on hand. Added bonus: you don’t need to make any frosting. The filling is just jam and the topping just powdered sugar. Genius, I say! For once, a cake that doesn’t require any real extra work once the cake is in the oven.
The hardest thing about this recipe was trying to decide which fruit preserve to use in the middle (I decided to go with raspberry – not just any raspberry but my favorite raspberry jam, conveniently named ‘Favorit’ :)). Please learn from my mistakes – while raspberry was a great choice, please make sure you choose something seedless. It was a bit jarring to go from biting into a soft, sweet cake into hard raspberry seeds. It is a mistake I will not be making again.
The batter is pretty thick but the cake comes out light and sweet, with a definite depth of almond flavor added by the almond paste. The sugar gives it a sweet, brown crust which softens a bit by day 2, but I liked the flavor and texture it added to the cake. Like most butter cakes it gets dry when it’s cold, so make sure you serve it at room temperature.
Almond Cake with Fruit Preserves
Required hardware: Food processor, Mixer, 8″ cake pan
- 4 oz almond paste
- 3/4 C sugar
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 1 C cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 rounded cup fruit preserves
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350° F and grease an 8-inch cake pan.
- Combine the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until no visible lumps of almond paste remain.
- Place the almond paste mixture in the bowl of a tabletop mixer with the butter and vanilla extract. Cream with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then return the mixer back to medium speed,
- Add the eggs, one at a time. Wait until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Scrape down sides of the bowl again, and add about half of the flour mixture. Mix on low, then turn the mixer back up to medium speed once the flour is mixed in. Let mix for about 1 minute, until the mixture is light and fluffy again. Repeat with the second half of the flour mixture.
- Scrape the batter into prepared pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
- Bake on the baking sheet in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes without opening the oven. After 40 minutes, rotate the pan and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the cake is golden brown.
- Let the cake cool to room temperature on a cooling rack, then turn it out of the pan. Slice the cake in half horizontally (I used this neat little gadget). Spread the jam on the bottom layer and place the top half of the cake back on top. Dust cake with powdered sugar.
[Adapted from Karen DeMasco]