Ligurian Almond Cake
Slightly reminiscent of a French gâteau breton, this dense cake is perfect with a glass of sweet wine or a cup of tea. As a dessert, it would need to be dressed up with some fruit or berries.
Makes one 9-inch tube or Bundt cake, about 16 slices
2 1/2 cups blanched almonds, very lightly toasted
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ounces (3 sticks) unsalted butter, very soft
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
5 large eggs, at room temperature
One 9-inch (10-cup) tube or Bundt pan, buttered, coated with fine dry bread crumbs, and sprayed with vegetable cooking spray
- Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 325˚F.
- Combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse repeatedly until the mixture is a fine powder. Invert the work bowl to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
- Add the flour, baking powder, and cinnamon to the bowl and mix on lowest speed for 1 minute.
- Add the butter and mix until absorbed.
- Add the lemon zest and 2 eggs and mix until absorbed. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Add another 2 eggs and repeat, beating for 1 minute after they are incorporated. Add the last egg and repeat.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake the cake until it is well risen and deep golden and the point of a thin knife inserted between the side of the pan and the central tube emerges clean, 45 to 50 minutes.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes, then unbuckle the side of the pan and slide the cake from the pan base to a rack to cool.
Serving: This is best as a tea cake. Serve thin slices; a spoonful of lemon curd to accompany it wouldn’t be bad, either.
Storage: Keep the baked cake under a cake dome or wrapped in plastic at room temperature. Double wrap and freeze for longer storage. Defrost and bring back to room temperature before serving.