Sunday, March 2, 2008

Almond Lemon Cake

Update: Made this and, man, is it LEMONY!

Confession: I haven't made this yet, but lord knows I'm looking forward to my next dinner or house party when, after wowing my guests with my best - sometimes experimental, always flirtatious in flavor combinations - savory offerings, I pull this out of the kitchen. Their jaws will drop as I plop down or withdraw triumphant from this holy delivery.

All thanks to Clea's (alias Claire Chapoutot) smart, imaginative, and resourceful law of substitutions - or how to replace butter in cake baking (in French).

Here's the recipe, as I've translated from Clea:

Almond Lemon Cake
3 eggs
40 grams flour (e.g. organic non-bleached all purpose)
40 grams almond powder*
80 grams blond cane sugar**
60 grams almond butter***
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 lemons (juice and zest) [my note: for a mellowed flavor, go with ONE lemon]

A note on metric measurements: while conversion charts are available, I use a small food scale when following metric recipes. It's not always convenient, but I can vouch for its accuracy...and once you start measuring, you'll find it much easier then sifting, scooping, and leveling with a curved ($#^!) butter knife.

*I make my own by blanching almonds in the oven, then processing in my Cuisinart
**I use Alter Eco's Fair Trade Cane Sugar
***I use Trader Joe's Raw Unsalted Almond Butter

Preheat oven to 170°C (325-350°F). Separate the whites from the egg yolks. Beat yolks with sugar until frothy.

Add almond butter and lemon juice, stir vigorously, then add almond powder, flour, baking powder, and lemon zest.

(I don't have a zester, so I peel the lemons using a veggie peeler, and then finely chop with a big bad ol knife. Try to avoid the white stuff as much as you can.)

Beat egg whites until stiff, then delicately incorporate into the batter. Pour into a greased 9-inch cake or tart pan and cook for approximately 25 minutes. Check that the cake is set by inserting the point of a knife into the center. Allow to cool completely before serving, and remove from pan before serving.

More updates: Because I couldn't wait another week to make this - and needed to test-bake it before serving to guests, anyway - here it is in all its delicious glory:

I was initially worried about the quantity of lemon zest - the zest of TWO whole lemons seemed like an awful lot. But once i had beat the egg whites to triple in size, froufrou like a poodle, and gently folded them into the rest of the batter...oh my goodness! This is good! And baked? Even better! Hope you'll try this one and let me know what you think. In a perfect world (ahem, summer), I would serve this with fresh raspberries or homemade raspberry sorbet...or a raspberry macaron from LaDurée. Formidable!
Merci, Penelope!

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