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
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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