Monday, March 27, 2017

Almond Cake

(upside down rabbit on the plate if you can't make out what's happening there)

Perhaps because a cup of tea and some cake is grounding and pure comfort, and my mind's been a bit slurry, I've been wanting cake all week.  Good cake.

Good cake, in the gluten-free world, is hard to come by, especially because I think most of the people who post gf cake recipes have actually forgotten what *real* cake tastes like and actually believe this "amazing" "best ever cake" they write about IS the best ever.  And it's nothing like cake.  And it's sadly neither amazing nor even good.  (If you ask Maeve about her "best every gluten free birthday cake" she'll tell you she had a really pretty cake that was bad.  Sorry, 4 year old...)

This cake is not a moist, spongy birthday cake type-cake; it's denser and crumbly, perfect with tea or coffee, even dipped for a second.  It's the right amount of almond and manages to taste like a pastry and cake at once.  Like all good cake, it's great for breakfast, too.  It would enjoy berries on the side, and I'm sure the orange creme fraiche whose recipe follows it in the book.  (meyer lemon creme fraiche would so good, too).

So here's a cake that delivers (I know, everyone says that).  It's from America's Test Kitchen GF book, which I like for baking.  It can be a bit fussy, but just cut corners and do what makes sense to you.  I've been making their flour mixture for a while and keeping it in the fridge.  Once I sprang for the initial stock of ingredients, it's been easy (and every refill seems free -ha)

The recipe calls for 2 T of sugar on top. I used one and thought it was perfect (of course the more you use, the thicker the sugary-almond slice crust on top).  I used meyer lemons instead of regular lemons because I had them and the lemon flavor was subtle, just a brightness.

Almond Cake 

1 1/2 c plus 1/3 c blanched sliced almonds, toasted
1 c GF flour blend 
3/4 t salt
1/4 t baking powder
1/8 t baking soda (I know, 1/8 seems hardly worth it -- must do something)
4 eggs
1 c plus 2 T sugar 
1 T plus 1/2 t grated lemon zest (I used meyer lemon)
1 t almond extract
4 T unsalted butter, melted
4 T vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)

Preheat to 300
Grease a 9" round cake pan and line bottom with parchment

1.  Pulse 1 1/2 c almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda in food processor until almonds are finely ground -- 10-15 pulses.  Transfer to bowl.

2. Place eggs, 1 c sugar, 1 T zest and almond extract in food processor and process for 2 minutes.  
With processor still running, add melted butter and oil in steady stream until incorporated.  Add almond-flour mixture and pulse until combined -- 4-5 pulses.

3. Scrape batter into pan and sprinkle with remaining 1/3 c almonds.
Using fingers combine remaining 2 T sugar (I only used 1) and 1/2 t lemon zest until fragrant.  Sprinkle over cake.

4.  Bake until center is set and toothpick comes out clean, 55-65 minutes (rotate pan after 40 min).
Let cook in pan for 15 minutes.
Then let cool completely on rack.  

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