Sophisticated Simple Almond Cake is the easiest, fanciest variation of a velvety, dense pound cake.
I’ve had a long relationship with a certain sour cream pound cake since working in a bakery back in college in the 1980s, later working with the Martha White test kitchen, and for at least the last 20 years, baking holiday pound cakes made with almost that same recipe for neighbors. And I still can’t stop playing with pound cake variations. I just love its dense buttery texture.
This almond cake is my new pound cake favorite because of the worldly euro-flavor imparted by the almond paste, another of my obsessions. You have to break-up and cream the almond paste well so that the batter is smooth. This is easiest done with a heavy-duty stand mixer, but a hand mixer will work, just give it time.
One note about pound cakes, creaming the butter with the sugar (and in this case almond paste) to aerate the batter is a critical step not to be rushed that should always take at least 7 minutes. But, DON’T beat the eggs forever. Incorporate them one at a time just until blended and smooth. I find the safest, most convenient (no shells in the batter) way to do this is to break the eggs together in a small bowl and slowly pour each egg into the creamed butter. I’ve had plenty of pound cakes fall and develop a thick crust that separates from the cake from over-aerating the eggs. It always seems to happen when I’m in a rush and the pound cake is a critical gift. It will probably happen to you once in a while too, but don’t take it personally. It will still taste good!
This almond cake seems to be more foolproof. The almond paste adds moisture and heft that beautifully holds the cake together. Plus, it’s baked in a springform pan for easy removal. And don’t fail to notice the magical very delicate, shiny, crackly top. Dust with powdered sugar and serve in thin slices because it is very rich! I adore it with a hot cup of tea or coffee for breakfast or afternoon snack. Spiff it up with seasonal fruits and whipped cream, but don’t think you have to.
As usual, I like to use self-rising flour, but you can use all-purpose and add a little baking powder.
- 8 ounces almond paste
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks)
- 5 eggs
- 3/4 cup self-rising flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- Zest of one lemon (optional)
Heat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
Break up the almond paste and place it in a mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer until crumbly.
Add the butter and cream until smooth.
Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, but don't overdo it.
Add the extracts, lemon zest, and flour and beat until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out evenly.
Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden brown. The sides of the cake will pull away from the pan. Cool.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
Serve as is or adorned with seasonal sweetened fresh fruit and whipped cream. This cake is absolutely fantastic. You can use all-purpose flour, just add 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and a big pinch of salt with the flour.