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Almond Breakfast Cake

Almond paste, almond extract and sliced almonds deliver a triple dose of almond flavor to this single-layer cake. Make sure to use almond paste rather than marzipan, which contains sugar. Fresh almond paste is soft and blends easily with the butter. To keep it fresh, always store it tightly wrapped so that it doesn’t take on moisture. 

Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter for greasing 
  •   

For the crumb topping: 

  • 6 Tbs. all-purpose flour 
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar 
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1 cup sliced almonds 
  •   

For the cake: 

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 
  • 1/4 tsp. salt 
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 1/4 lb. almond paste, at room temperature 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract  
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract 
  • 3/4 cup milk 

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan.

To make the crumb topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar and cinnamon until blended. Add the melted butter and stir together until the mixture is evenly moistened and crumbly. Gently stir in the almonds until just evenly distributed. Set aside.

To make the cake, in a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

To make the batter by hand, in a large bowl, combine the butter and almond paste. Using a wooden spoon, beat until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until blended. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and stir until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, and mix until just blended.

To make the batter with an electric mixer, in a large bowl, combine the butter and almond paste and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the granulated sugar and beat until blended. Add the eggs, vanilla and almond extract and beat until blended, about 1 minute. The mixture may look slightly curdled. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour, and beat until just blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the surface. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let the cake cool completely in the pan. Serve immediately, or cover the cake with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes one 9-inch round cake.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Breakfast and Brunch, by Georgeanne Brennan, Elinor Klivans, Jordan Mackay and Charles Pierce (Oxmoor House, 2007).