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Almond Cake
Accompany slices of cake with fresh berries and cups of hot tea or espresso.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 12 oz. almond paste
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. kirsch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. apricot jam, warmed with 1 Tbs. water
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper.

Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the almond paste, orange and lemon zests, almond extract, kirsch and vanilla, and beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the eggs and beat until smooth and blended, about 1 minute more. Reduce the speed to low and fold in the flour mixture until smooth and lump-free. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.

Bake until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.

Transfer the cake pan to a wire rack and cool for 1 hour. Turn the cake out onto a plate. Brush the top with the apricot jam and sprinkle with the toasted almonds.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Complete Entertaining Cookbook, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1998).