Hey, it's always good to take a little breather between the main course and dessert--even if it is a few days since we tried the Spicy Thai Tofu! Today I wanted to share a recipe for a dessert that always gets rave reviews from kids and adults alike (including M. Christian and Sage Vivant when they popped over for a fondue dinner last winter), plus it's so easy to make and very forgiving if you forget it in the oven for an extra minute or two. Cakes can be very finicky, which is why I imagine cake mixes are so popular, although who wants all of that processed crap in the name of a moist texture that lasts for days? This almond tea cake is naturally moist thanks to the almond paste, and in fact is reminiscent of good marzipan. It even impressed a French friend, a veteran restaurant manager, who explicitly praised the moistness, in a charming accent, naturally. As we erotica writers know, moist is good, so next time you want to treat yourself to a simple, elegant and delicious treat, try this. You deserve it. Oh, and it goes well with fresh summer fruit, too!
The recipe calls for optional dried fruit, but since I have kids they vetoed that and I've never tried it. Also, I use a high quality almond paste I order from King Arthur Flour (which also sells an Italian-style flour that makes exquisite pizza crust and a great Tahitian vanilla). But I have made it with the brand available in my supermarket and it doesn't suffer much.
Almond Tea Cake
3/4 cup (7-8 oz on a scale) Love ‘n’ Bake almond paste (other brands are okay)
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flour
1 Tablespoon vanilla (Tahitian preferred)
1/4 cup dried cherries or dried apricots, optional
powdered sugar as garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whirl almond paste in a food processor with 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy.
In a mixing bowl cream butter with the rest of the sugar and beat until fluffy.
Add almond paste and beat until well mixed.
Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add vanilla.
Scrape the bowl, then fold in the baking powder and flour
Fold in the dry fruit, if using
Spread the batter in a greased 8” cake pan lined with a round of parchment or waxed paper on the bottom.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. (My slow oven takes about 42 minutes).
Cool on a rack about five minutes, then run a thin knife around the edge, turn over onto a rack, remove from pan and cool completely.
Dust with powdered sugar to serve.
Sit back and enjoy the compliments!