Thursday, April 3, 2014

Almond Cake a la David Lebovitz

LUCY BURDETTE: On Monday I typed "The End" on DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, and sent the manuscript off to New York. This is definitely a time for celebration, right? But to be honest, I felt tired. I didn't have the head of steam that creating a new recipe would require.

I have had a terrible craving for almond cake lately, which I date back to the almond cloud cookies that I made last summer. And then miracle of miracles, my inbox received a recipe for almond cake from David Lebovitz--the same cake he used to make back at Chez Panisse. Perfect for a celebration!

David lives in Paris--if you are a Francophile or a pastry fanatic and haven't read his book THE SWEET LIFE IN PARIS, you are in for a treat. (I'm also waiting anxiously for his new book, MY PARIS KITCHEN.) If you are lucky enough to be going to Paris, make sure you download his pastry app, which I discovered too late for our trip last fall. 

I lay no claim to authorship of this recipe, I was only smart enough to make it. (And my guests agreed!)


1 and 1/3 cup sugar
7-8 oz almond paste (this comes in a tube--mine was 7 oz)
1 cup flour
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
6 eggs

Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter and flour a 9- or 10-inch cake pan and then line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. I greased this with a little butter too, just to be on the safe side. As there is no icing to disguise bumps and holes, you do not want part of the cake sticking to the pan!

In the bowl of a food processor, grind the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until the almond paste the mixture resembles sand. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and salt, and set this aside.

Add the cubes of butter and the vanilla and almond extracts to the almond paste mixture, then process until the batter is smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each. Transfer this batter to a bowl and mix the dry ingredients in, half at a time. You want the dry ingredients mixed in well, without over beating.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center. Mine took 55 minutes.


Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife around the edge, loosening the cake. Cool completely, then tap the cake onto a nice plate--the parchment should peel right off. Finally, sprinkle with powdered sugar.


The cake is delicious enough to serve alone, but I added whipped cream and strawberries. The guests swooned!

Along with celebrating DEATH WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, the almond cake goes perfectly with MURDER WITH GANACHE, in stores now!

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  1. There's an app for finding pastry in Paris? Sign me up, folks! Worldwide I navigate by bakeries (and occasionally gelato). When This Old House was doing its series on rebuilding the Jersey shore, I stumbled on a segment about Mueller's Bakery in Bay Head--my family used to shop there half a century ago, and it's still going strong, hurricane or not. I immediately ordered a crumbcake online. Bakeries rock! (And so does Chez Panisse--I used to live in the area and treated myself there every few years.)

    This one sounds like a keeper! I think I'm addicted to almond paste.

  2. Me too, Sheila.

    I never have eaten at Chez Panisse. We had reservations once, with my stepdaughter and two of her college friends. Then their lacrosse coach held them over for practice and they came late. CP gave away our table just minutes before they arrived. :(

    I wonder if the crumb cake arrived fresh?

  3. Mmm, almond cake. Perhaps with a drizzle of ganache?
    I can almost taste it!
    Well done on finishing the new manuscript! You deserved a lovely treat like this.

    1. thanks Libby--ganache would work, but wouldn't be necessary!

  4. Oh my! That's beautiful. I can almost taste it!

    Congrats on sending off the manuscript, Lucy/Roberta. Enjoy the freedom.



    1. thanks MJ. Of course I'm immediately thinking of things I should have tweaked, but I'll see it again:)

  5. You just sold me on his cookbooks! This is beautiful, Lucy. The whipped cream and strawberries are perfect with it. A very sophisticated cake to serve at teatime. Love it!


  6. Paris by foodie app? The airline would have to wave weight restrictions for my flight home! Your DL almond cake looks delightful, too, I'm getting my fork. Thank you for sharing and happy congrats on the completion of your new Key West mystery!

    ~ Cleo

    1. Cleo, Patricia Wells has a new Paris food app too:). It's a dangerous place...

  7. Gorgeous. How did it get that beautiful glaze on it? Yum!

    And congrats on finishing another manuscript. What fun! Celebrate.

    Daryl / Avery

    1. thanks Daryl! The glaze I think is the top of the cake:)