Slightly boozy and rich with butter, this almond flour cake is the perfect pairing for fresh berries and stonefruit. Its texture is at once decadent and light, and when you layer it with billowy whipped cream and ripe cherries still dripping with juice, you're in for a spectacular treat.
What's in it?
Almond flour cakes were popular in Europe and colonial America during the 18th century. These celebratory treats featured pounds of butter, dozens of eggs, whole cane sugar, and plenty of booze in the way of brandy and sherry.
In this version, we dial back the sugar and eggs and replace brandy and sherry with kirsch and amaretto which amplify the almond flavor.
Why almond flour?
Almond flour has a rich flavor complemented by butter, and it pairs beautifully with summer fruits like strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. The use of almond flour in pastries and cakes dates back centuries, and this recipe is adapted from an 18th-century almond cake that was spiked with sherry and dotted with dried currants.
While other historical cake recipes like this Election Cake call for wheat flour and sourdough starter, almond-based cakes were popular too. In addition to their rich flavor and light, creamy texture, the fat and protein content of almond-based pastries makes them particularly satisfying.
Where to Find Almond Flour
Look for superfine almond flour to make this cake. It has the best texture: soft, fluffy, and pudding-like all at once. It also readily absorbs the deep flavor imparted by amaretto and kirsch, which lends a decadent booziness to the cake.
You can find almond flour in most supermarkets and natural foods grocers, but you can also order it online here.
This cake is straightforward to make and simple. Keep in mind that the cake contains no leavening agent; rather, it achieves its delicate and rich texture by incorporating air into the batter. So beat the butter and other ingredients together until fluffy and expanded. These other tips will also help to make sure your cake comes out beautifully.
- Use superfine almond flour for the best texture. Almond flour will plump as it absorbs the wet ingredients, and superfine flour means better texture that's both rich and light.
- Beat the butter and cake batter until very light and fluffy. It should be billowy and expand in volume as you beat it. All of the cake's leavening comes from the air you beat into the batter.
- Beat the eggs in one at a time, it's less sloppy, and each one will be fully incorporated into the batter before you add the next.
- Butter and sugar your cake tins. Preparing your pans with butter and then dusting them with sugar prevents the cakes from sticking. It also creates a pleasant crystalline crunch to the edges of the cake, too.
- Let your cake rest a full ten minutes before you turn it out of the tin. Without any gluten to hold the cake together and with its high-fat content, the cake may fall apart if you turn it out too early.
Brimming with strawberries and cherries, this almond flour cake is perfect for summertime. Once you get the hang of making it, you can make adjustments - swapping stonefruit for citrus in the winter or dropping the liqueurs for extracts.
Try adding dried fruit and sherry, and rosewater to the batter. You'll find the recipe in my first cookbook, The Nourished Kitchen.
Need an alcohol-free version? If you avoid alcohol, substitute an additional tablespoon almond extract as well as 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.
Try it with citrus, for winter. You can swap the amaretto and kirsch for an orange- or lemon-flavored liqueur, orange extract, and orange flower water. A spoonful of finely-grated lemon peel will impart a floral note, and you can serve it with orange supremes.
Serve the cake with meringue rather than cream. If cream seems too heavy, try serving the cake with a vanilla-scented meringue instead.