Adapted from the Bluebird Coffee Shop
I found almond paste made by Odense, a Danish company, at my local Whole Foods, but I also have seen it sold in the supermarkets all over New York. I have a feeling, however, that there are better quality almond pastes out there, though they might not come in the very size you need, so you’ll have to measure out.
Bear in mind, that that cake sinks somewhat. This happened to the cake at the café as well as when I made it. I don’t mind this sinking, or as I like to call it, the “slumping” one bit – in fact, it looks kind of cozier that way. Don’t let the cake cool longer than 10 minutes in the pan before inverting. The heat from the pan will make the cake drier.
(UPDATE 12/29/12: I’ve made this cake numerous times since posting – and each time it sank in the center. A reader wrote to me that his cake sunk a lot, and I went on a mission, asking everyone who was willing to listen, about the cake sinking and as to why. In the end, I arrived at this conclusion: the cake needs more protein to withstand sinking – without egg whites, it’s too delicate. However, the tradeoff to a sunken cake is a rich, tender crumb which you don’t get as much when using whole eggs.
UPDATE 1/9/13: In my endless quest to figure out if there are any other cakes made with yolks only, I finally stumbled upon Amanda Hesser’s version from “Cooking for Mr. Latte”. Her ingredients (and proportions) are nearly identical to my version and at the end of the recipe, she writes, “Yield: one sunken but delicious cake.” I exchanged a few emails with Amanda and she confirmed it: the cake, albeit the most delicious she’s ever had (I concur), always sinks.)
I will make the cake again and swap in a prettier picture for the mess above, but I wanted, so badly, to share this cake with you because it is just so incredibly delicious that I can’t delay any longer. Trust me, this cake is the only almond cake recipe you’ll ever need.
2 1/4 cups (283 grams; 10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (312 grams; 11 ounces) granulated sugar
7 ounces (198 grams) almond paste (this brand makes 7-ounce tubes so no need to measure out)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks; 227 grams) unsalted butter, softened
4 large egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) almond extract
1 cup (226 grams; 8 ounces) sour cream, room temperature
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
1. With the rack positioned in the middle, heat the oven to 325 degrees F (click here for conversion to Celsius/gas mark). Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. In a food processor fitted with a blade process the sugar and almond paste until combined. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, on medium speed, for 1 minute. Add the almond mixture, a little at a time, to the butter and mix on medium speed for about 8 minutes. With the mixer set at medium speed, add the yolks, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition until each yolk is incorporated. Add the sour cream and the almond extract and mix until incorporated. Set the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, in 3 batches, until just combined. Be careful not to overmix.
3. Transfer the batter to the pan, and using a spatula, smooth out the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. You should see the cake pulling away from the sides of the pan, and, the top springs back up, if you push down with your finger. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack, and let rest for 20 minutes before turning the cake out onto the rack. Let cool for 1 hour. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before serving.
Makes 1 (9-inch) cake; serves 8 to 10.