Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Almond Cardamon Tea Cake

This almond cardamom tea cake is from Samin Nosrat’s Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (from the “Fat” chapter). It was easy to make, and the flavors were both simple and complementary. This cake was truly excellent! The Engineer gave it 5 stars, and both kids ate it with gusto (the Fox almost swiped it while I was taking a photo the next day, as you’ll see below). I loved it too!

For the almond topping
4 Tbsp. (2 oz.) lactose-free butter or margarine
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 scant cup (3 oz.) sliced almonds
1 pinch of flaky sea salt

For the cake
1 cup (5 ¼ oz.) cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt OR ½ tsp. fine sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ½ tsp. ground cardamom
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (9 ½ oz.) almond paste, at room temperature
1 cup (7 oz.) sugar
2 sticks (1 cup or 8 oz.) lactose-free butter or margarine

Preheat the oven to 350 °F. Set a rack in the upper third of the oven. Grease a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan (I used a springform pan), line it with parchment paper, then grease it again and dust it with flour.

To make the almond topping, in a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, cook the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the liquid bubbles. Remove from heat and stir in the almonds and salt. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and use a rubber spatula to distribute it evenly across the bottom of the pan.

For the cake, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk together the vanilla, cardamom, and eggs. Set aside.

Place the almond paste in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to break it up. Add sugar and process for 90 seconds, or until the mixture is as fine as sand. Add the butter and continue processing until the mixture is very light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is being combined evenly.

With the machine running, slowly start to add the egg mixture, spoonful by spoonful, as if making a mayonnaise (this is an emulsion!). Let each addition of egg be absorbed so that the mixture regains its smooth, silky look before adding more eggs. When all the eggs have been added, stop and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula, then continue to mix until well combined.

Scrape the batter into a large bowl. Gently fold in the flour in three additions until just incorporated. Avoid overmixing. Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 50-60 minutes (the original recipe said 55-60, but I think I should have pulled mine out at 50 minutes), or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. The cake will just pull away from the sides of the pan. Let the cake cool on a wire rack before running a knife around the edge and then inverting onto a plate. (If you have trouble, you could warm the bottom of the pan directly on the stovetop briefly, but mine came out fine.) Remove the parchment paper and then set onto a cake stand until ready to serve.

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