Almond Cake

    MAKES: 1 single-layer cake (about 8 servings)

    TIME: About 1 hour, plus time to cool

    A rich cake for any almond lover. Almost all the almond flavor comes straight from the nuts, which are ground into a flour, with almond milk and extract playing supporting (and optional) roles to boost the flavor. Check out the Flourless Chocolate Nut Torte variation for an even more intense taste and texture. And feel free to use any nut or combination of nuts here.

    Sauces, glazes, and frostings you can use with this cake: Spread on Not-Too-Sweet Buttercream Frosting, cover with Chocolate Glaze or Anise-Plum or Cherry Sauce, or simply dust with powdered sugar.

    8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened, plus butter for the pan

    1 cup almonds

    1 cup all-purpose flour

    11/2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup sugar

    2 eggs

    1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

    1 teaspoon grated or finely minced lemon zest

    1/4 cup almond milk or cow’s milk

    Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Grease one 9-inch layer or springform cake pan with some of the butter.

    Put the almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Mix the almond flour with the dry ingredients.

    Use an electric mixer to beat the stick of butter and the sugar together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time and beat until thick and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary (this will take 5 to 7 minutes); add the extract and zest and beat to combine. Add the dry mixture, mixing until smooth. Add the milk and mix on low speed until well blended.

    Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting it onto a rack. Cool completely before glazing or frosting and slicing. Store at room temperature, covered with wax paper, for up to a day or two; use plastic wrap and it will keep for an extra day or so.


    Amaretto Cake. Crumble amaretti cookies over the top of the batter just before baking if you like: Substitute 1/4 cup amaretto for the almond milk.

    Flourless Chocolate Nut Torte. Omit the stick of butter and just use enough to grease the pan. Add another whole egg and 2 egg whites, plus 1/2 cup cocoa powder and another cup of almonds. Omit the flour, baking powder, and almond milk. Grind all the nuts as directed in Step 2. In Step 3, beat the eggs and sugar together until thick and frothy, then just fold in the ground nuts, cocoa, and salt. Pour into the pan, bake, and cool as directed.