2.27.2014

Almond Cake


I’m extremely Italian when it comes to dessert.  I prefer a barely sweetened sfogliatelle or anything with anisette to classic buttercream covered confections.  Italian desserts are perfect with my afternoon tea addiction, and they’re always so much less of a project than those multi-layered things. 
 
I particularly love this almond cake recipe from (who else?) Gina DePalma. It’s flavored with orange zest, the taste of which immediately brings me back to childhood trips to Bleecker street. We’d pick up my grandmother at her apartment and go to Faicco’s for sausage, and then the nearby pastry shop for sweets.  I always got these little cream puff things that were flavored with orange liqueur.
 
Try this out; it’s a really nice offering if you have guests over for a casual dinner.  It’s all whisked in one bowl, no mixer need, so it’s fast to put together.  I’m also going to claim it’s healthy, since it’s made with almond flour and olive oil, though I guess technically it’s still a cake. 
 
Almond Olive Oil Cake, from Gina DePalma
1 cup flour
½ cup almond flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract
Grated zest of ¼ of an orange (or, zest of 1 lemon)
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
 
For the glaze:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tbsp whole milk
Lemon juice
½ cup sliced almonds, optional toasted
 
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9 inch round cake pan and set aside.
 
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.
 
Crack the eggs in a large bowl, and whisk lightly. Add sugar and whisk thoroughly for 30 seconds. Add olive oil and mix until mixture lightens in color, about 45 seconds. Finally, whisk in your extracts, zest, and orange juice.
 
Add dry ingredients and whisk till combined, then whisk another 30 seconds. 
 
Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake in oven for 30-45 minutes, rotating in the oven halfway through cooking to ensure even doneness.  The cake is done when it springs back when touched and a cake tester comes out clean.  (I usually find that once you start smelling the cake baking, you’re about ¾ way done).
 
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then pop it out and place on a baking rack to cool. 
 
While it cools, make the glaze:
 
Melt butter in a saucepan until it turns a light tan color. Shut the heat off and let it sit so that it darkens in color. 
 
While butter cools, whisk together milk and confectioner’s sugar.  Then, slowly whisk in butter and add some lemon juice to cut sweetness. Use your own judgment here, add more or less lemon juice as desired. 
 
Spread glaze on top of cake, then sprinkle on almond slices. 
 
Enjoy!

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