Sunday, June 5, 2011

Almond Cakes

The Color of Baking, 2011

Today I felt like baking and had everything I needed for an almond cake, well, everything I needed for my version of an almond cake. So I baked.

Baking during the summer months is not for everyone. Although we've not quite reached the official season, it is June, and it is cool and grey. Perfect baking weather. This is a big benefit of the San Francisco summers that aren't really summers at all.

I was originally inspired by David Lebovitz. I adapted his recipe the last time I made almond cake and the cake you see outlined below was inspired by my last. David adapted his recipe from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Remolif Shere. I've veered so far from David's recipe I hesitate to even drag him into what I've done here.

Why is it so different? My kitchen is very low-tech, I wanted a healthier cake, and I wanted to make less cake. I always make too much cake. I adore the version I've made here, Chris likes it too, but David and Lindsey haven't tried it, yet.

Almond Cakes
8 petite slices of cake

1/2 cup brown sugar
7 ounces pure almond paste
1/2 cup unbleached white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
confectioners sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 325ºF

Butter two 16-ounce ramekins and dust them with flour. Line the bottom of each ramekin with a round of parchment paper. Combine sugar, almond paste, and half of your flour (only 1/4 cup) in a medium bowl and break, crumble, and sift with your hands until the almond paste is broken up into pea size bits. In a small bowl combine the other half of your flour (1/4 cup), baking powder, and salt. Gently stir with a fork or your fingers to mix well. Add olive oil and vanilla extract to medium bowl with almond paste mixture and stir until it reaches a gritty smooth state. Add eggs, one at a time, to medium bowl, stirring well after each egg. Sprinkle half of the flour mixture over wet ingredients and stir gently, just to combine. Do not over-mix. Repeat with remaining flour mixture. Divide batter evenly between your two prepared ramekins. Bake cakes for approximately 45 minutes or until the tops reach a deep brown color and spring back when pressed in the center. Remove cakes from oven and run a knife around the perimeter of each ramekin to loosen the cakes. Allow cakes to cool completely in ramekins and they should slip out easily. Peel away parchment and you are all set. Dusting with confectioners sugar is optional. Each cake can be sliced into 4 petite slices.
I am sure whipped cream or berries would be nice with this cake, but I like mine plain.

Enjoy.

22 comments:

  1. I never knew there was such a thing as too much cake. It can't be true

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  2. As I live alone, I always prefer to make smaller cakes so can relate to wanting a bit less cake. At the moment I'm also trying to make recipes a bit healthier with brown sugar and different flours so I love your version. I'm such a fan of the original but can't wait to try this.

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  3. I love almond cakes, this one sounds really simple to make :)

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  4. Your photo triggers memories of scraps of dough rolled by small hands, sprinkled with brown sugar, cinnamon and dotted with butter, then baked until bubbling and crisp. I think it is time for pie.

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  5. Delish... comfort food on a cold day like today (can you believe this weather?)
    Recipes - I am always trying to make recipes less buttery or just "less". I am not so good at it!

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  6. love this photograph. and that we can bake year-round in our cool covered cities by the bay.

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  7. Almond cake--such a classic. In fact, I was just writing about how almond seems to be the quintessential flavor of Norwegian/Scandinavian desserts (which I tend to write a lot about on my blog, given my heritage and love for the flavor of almond). I still don't have my own "perfect" almond cake recipe, though, so thanks for directing me toward another to explore!

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  8. I've been thinking almond cake, too! Just finished 'Cooking for Mr. Latte', which includes a great-sounding almond cake recipe. I bought almond paste today at the grocery store just in case.

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  9. This cake sounds perfect to me, and I'm sure that David and Lindsey would agree!

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  10. I much prefer a petite cake to, say, cupcakes, which are a bit overrated. (tending to be too dry, and too heaped with frosting)

    a chez danisse almond cake is sure to be a delight.

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  11. Sounds fantastic!

    Oh - and i need your address to send you your set of postcards!

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  12. Even though it is sweltering today in the midwest, your post evokes a pleasant sense associated with baking a cake.

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  13. mmm, great recipe. I've been in the mood for baking lately too, so I may just give this a try.

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  14. Nancy mentioned that you had made an almond cake. What a cake! I really like the idea of using almond paste as a base.

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  15. Your almond cake sounds delicious. And you're right - this cool weather is perfect for baking!

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  16. I love any recipe that has almond paste in it. And it's grey in June here in Seattle as well, so I'll be baking lots myself.

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  17. Thanks, everyone! I hope you are all baking something good tonight.

    Rachael, Those rolled pieces of dough, what a description. My hands might need to roll some.

    Lecia, I read Cooking for Mr. Latte several years ago. I remember really liking the bit about her packing her own airplane food.

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  18. This looks yummy....you have a lovely blog...I am having a giveaway in my blog..Y dont you check and join that
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/2011/05/chocolate-recipe-and-chocolate.html

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  19. That sounds like a delicious recipe! I've recently been making a very easy and delicious almond-and-date cake recipe. If you're interested, you can find it here:
    http://this-good-life.blogspot.com/2011/04/almond-and-date-cake-almond-and-orange.html

    And a lovely blog you have :)

    Blessings,
    This Good Life

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  20. Less and more healthy is always a good recipe for me- I really must try this.

    San Francisco weather is my favorite-I am having cool rainy day envy!

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  21. I'm so pleased to have found your blog. I've been in a asemi-baking rut, and I am never happier than when making cakes with almonds, so this is bliss. I look forward to reading more.

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