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.
Bob’s Red Mill’s superfine almond flour does the trick, and you can find it in most grocery stores as well as online here. They’re also an employee-owned company with a deep commitment to natural, whole foods.
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.
Almond Flour Cake Recipe
For the Cake
- whipped cream
- fresh seasonal summer fruit
- cake tins (see note)
- Parchment Paper
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
Preheat the oven and prepare your pans.
- Heat the oven to 350 F. Grease your cake tins with butter, and sprinkle them with sugar before lining them with parchment paper.
Make the cake batter.
- Toss the butter into the basin of stand mixer, and then add the sugar. Beat the two together until light and fluffy. Then drop the eggs in one at a time, making sure that each egg is fully incorporated into the mixture before adding the next.
- Beat in the almond extract, amaretto, kirsch, and salt The batter should be creamy, and dotted by fluffy bits of butter.
- Beat in the almond flour one cup at a time, and continue beating until the batter is well-combined and fluffy.
Bake the cake.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tins so that the batter reaches 3/4 of the way up the sides of the tin. Place the tins on a baking sheet, and then transfer them to the oven.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. The cakes should be amber brown around the edges, and should pull away fro the tin, with a little wobble remaining in the very center.
- Remove the cakes from the oven, and allow them to cool in their tins on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then gently remove them from the tins, and let them continue cooling on the rack until room temperature.
Finishing the cakes.
- After the cakes cool completely, layer them with whipped cream and chopped fresh summer fruit, then slice and serve.
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.