Currently cooking out of Pure Dessert by Alice Medrich.
This cake is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And, more importantly, Bryan agrees. Since the man has a compulsive need to disagree with me over everything (snort), the fact that he agreed means this cake is truly something special.
I made the cake the day before going to visit Bryan’s mother, and I had planned to bring her at least half of it. Unfortunately, every time either of us walked by the counter where it was sitting, we had to cut off another slice. The next day, there were only crumbs left. Yes, Bryan and I ate the entire thing in less than a day.
The cake is stupidly easy to make, and the entire thing is done in the food processor. Instead of flour, the basic structure comes from ground almonds. This gives the cake an extremely moist, dense texture. It was almost chewy in a very, very good way. The best part of the cake is the side and bottom crusts. You smear the cake pan with butter, press sliced almond all around it and sprinkle it with sugar. In the oven, the sugar carmalizes slightly and toasts the almonds. I underbaked the cake slightly, so I suspect that a few more minutes in the oven would have resulted in an even browner crust on the bottom. I also had a rough time getting it out of the pan. I think I ended up with three or so chunks, but that just meant it was easier to sneak pieces without Bryan being able to tell.
We ate pieces of the cake plain, but also with some strawberries. Both were divine. The next time I make this cake, I’m going to try adding in some lemon or orange zest. Not much, as the cake is perfectly fine without it, but I’d like to see what that hint of citrus does to the flavor.
Note: I had an opportunity to make this cake again, a few days later. The second time, I added about a teaspoon of lemon zest. Funny enough, I actually preferred the cake without the lemon zest as even that small amount overpowered the almond flavor.