Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Almond Cake

It's a great gluten free cake and is quite elegant.  I served it with balsamic strawberry sauce but it would be lovely with stewed apples, peaches or blueberries.  Go with what is in season.

Almond Cake

Serves 8
3 T. unsalted butter, room temperature
5 cups sliced almonds
1 3/4 cups plus 2 T. confectioner's sugar
6 large egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 
1 teaspoon almond extract ( I put it in)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat the bottom and sides of a 9 by 2 inch cake pan evenly with the butter.  Do not use spring form pan, butter will leach out onto oven.  Add 3/4 cup of the almonds.  Rotate the pan to coat the bottoms and sides.  Turn pan upside down and tap lightly to remove any nuts that do not cling.

2.  In a food processor, grind the remaining 4 1/4 cups almonds and 1 3/4 cups of the sugar to a powder.   Place the mixture to a medium bowl.

3.  In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy and frothy.  Continue beating, adding the remaining 2 T. sugar slowly, until the whites hold firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.  Beat in the vanilla, almond extract and lemon zest until just mixed.

4.  Add the almond mixture to the egg whites half a cup at a time, folding gently just until combined.  Do not over mix.  The batter will be dense.

5.  Put he batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Bake in the middle of the oven until the top is browned and the center springs back when touched lightly, 35 to 40 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack.  Turn out onto a serving plate.  Serve accompanied by the Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar and Chantilly Cream.

Balsamic Strawberries
4 pints strawberries, 1 pint hulled, 3 pints hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 T. water
1 T. balsamic vinegar

Chantilly Cream
2 cups heavy cream
3 T. powder sugar
2 t. vanilla extract

Whip cream to soft peaks, add powder sugar and vanilla, continue to whip until firm peaks hold.Note:
This cake is so moist it keeps well for up to 5 days. You can prepare the berries and toss them with the sugar, water and vinegar 4 hours before serving. This is a wonderful cake to serve with afternoon tea. The strawberries are a wonderful accompaniment, but any type of fruit will be just fine. I also love this cake plain with a little powdered sugar. As it ages, it gets even better. It is very European in style and taste. I also love to serve this cake after a wonderful Italian dinner and an aperitif of amaretto! It is divine!!!!

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