Sliced almonds and a sprinkle of lemon-infused sugar top this Italian almond cake. Photo by: Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP
April 24, 2019 10:45:12 AM
Simple, rich almond cake makes a sophisticated and delicately sweet dessert, but traditional European versions tend to be heavy and dense. For a slightly cakier version with plenty of nutty flavor, we swapped out the usual almond paste for toasted blanched sliced almonds (we disliked the slight bitterness imparted by skin-on almonds) and added a bit of almond extract for extra depth.
A generous amount of lemon zest provided subtle brightness. For an even lighter crumb, we increased the flour slightly and added baking powder -- an untraditional ingredient -- to ensure proper rise.
Making the batter in a food processor broke down some of the protein structure in the eggs, ensuring that the cake had a level, not domed, top, which was especially important for this unfrosted dessert. We swapped some butter for oil and lowered the oven temperature to produce an evenly baked, moist cake.
For a crunchy finishing touch, we topped the cake with sliced almonds and a sprinkle of lemon-infused sugar. If you can't find blanched sliced almonds, grind slivered almonds for the batter and use unblanched sliced almonds for the topping.
ITALIAN ALMOND CAKE
Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes
1 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Nutrition information per serving: 485 calories; calories from fat; 30 g fat (7 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 127 mg cholesterol; 287 mg sodium; 50 g carbohydrate; 3 g fiber; 35 g sugar; 10 g protein.