Val DeSantis from Utica, N.Y., was looking for a recipe for a Scandinavian-style almond cake like the one she purchased some years ago at a fundraiser. She thought it was made with almond paste as well as almond extract, and she said that it's "an almond lover's dream cake".
Rosalinda Fuller from Santa Rosa, Calif., shared a recipe for an delicious almond cake that she hoped DeSantis would enjoy. She said that she found it on food writer David Lebovitz's website, davidlebovitz.com. Lebovitz, who worked for many years as a pastry chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., says he adapted this recipe from one in "Chez Panisse Desserts" by Lindsey Shere.
As Lebowitz says, this is a cake that is hard to mess up. There is no sifting or folding required, and thanks to the food processor, the whole thing comes together very easily.
It can be served simply, with a dusting of powdered sugar. Or, as Lebovitz suggests, the finished cake can be split and served with a filling of raspberry or apricot jam and topped with a layer of toasted almonds, followed by powdered sugar. It also could be served with an almond glaze or a simple chocolate sauce. Fresh peaches or berries would also be natural accompaniments.
This rich, moist almond cake is endlessly adaptable and will keep well for several days at room temperature. Serve it for dessert one night, and if there is any left over, it will be a welcome treat for breakfast or tea the next day.
Adapted from "Chez Panisse Desserts" by Lindsay Shere
Makes one 9- or 10-inch cake
11/3 cups sugar
8 ounces almond paste
3/4 cup plus 1/4 cup flour
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
11/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
6 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9- or 10-inch cake or springform pan with butter, dust it with flour and tap out any excess. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.
In the bowl of a food processor, grind the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until the almond paste is fine and the mixture resembles sand. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder and salt.
Once the almond paste is completely broken up, add the cubes of butter and the vanilla and almond extracts, then process until the batter is smooth and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, processing a bit before the next addition. (You may wish to open the machine and scrape the sides down to make sure the eggs are fully mixed.) After you add all the eggs, the mixture may look curdled. Don't worry; it'll come back together after the next step.
Add half the flour mixture and pulse the machine a few times, then add the rest, pulsing the machine until the dry ingredients are just incorporated (do not overmix). You can also transfer the batter to a bowl and mix the dry ingredients in, which ensures the dry ingredients are incorporated evenly and you don't over-beat them.
Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press the center.
Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, loosening the cake from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool completely in the pan. Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper and set on a cake plate until ready to serve.
Janet Powell, originally from Frederick and now living in Oak Ridge, Tenn., is looking for a recipe for cheese pie. She said this is a dessert pie made with cottage cheese and was a "regional favorite" that both of her grandmothers used to make when she was growing up.
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