Several months ago a dear friend of mine sent me this recipe. It’s adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Desserts. The recipe is true to its name; it is absolutely perfect! This cake is very rich so you only need small slices. I served it with Ginger Ice Cream and my company asked for seconds! That good! It would also be delicious with fresh fruit. Tightly wrapped the cake keeps for several days.
Absolutely Perfect Almond Cake
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) unblanched or blanched almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several chunks and slightly softened
1 tablespoon kirsch (optional)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
For crunchy almond crust:
1 tablespoon softened butter
6 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 tablespoon sugar
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Smear the sides and bottom of the pan generously with about 1 tablespoon softened butter. (I use a shallow 10 inch in diameter pan with three inch sides) Scatter 6 tablespoons sliced almonds over the bottom of the pan and press some of them about 1 inch up the sides; distribute any extra nuts evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar over the bottom and sides of the pan.
Place the almonds, sugar, salt, and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely pulverized. Add the eggs, butter, and kirsch, if using, and pulse to blend thoroughly. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse just until blended.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly.
Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick plunged into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overcook.
Cool the cake on a rack for 10 minutes before unmolding. To unmold, slide a slim knife or spatula carefully around the inside of the pan, pressing against the pan to release the cake without cracking the crust. Cover the pan with a plate, and invert both. Remove the pan and leave the cake crust side up to serve.
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