I love a cup of espresso more than just about anything and this flourless Italian Almond Cake is the perfect accompaniment. It is made with almond paste, so it is soft and exceptionally moist with a light almond sweetness. Oh and did I mention that it’s gluten free?
You won’t believe how delicious this cake is. It’s as if it were made specifically to be served with a cup of bold espresso. The almond flavors and sweet smell of this cake remind me of sitting in a café in Italy and after just one bite I am immediately transported there!
How to Make Almond Cake
- Almond paste is easiest to work with when it is at room temperature. When it is cold it will be stiff and hard to manipulate, but when warm it is so pliable that you can spread it. Leave to warm up to room temperature if you have been storing it in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Butter should also be at room temperature so that it is soft and can easily be creamed with the almond paste.
- Granulated sugar is called for in this recipe. Do not use super fine or confectioners’ sugar in the cake recipe.
- Lemon zest is added to provide a bit of brightness.
- Eggs should be at room temperature as well. This will help them blend better and create a fluffier batter.
- Almond Flour is mixed with baking powder and salt before being added to the batter. When measuring the almond flour, spoon it into the measuring cup and then level it off. The almond paste and the almond flour add a lot of moisture to the cake due to their high fat content (don’t worry almonds are high in monounsaturated fats, the good kind of fat). At the same time, they are heavier then all-purpose flour so the cake will not have the same rise as most cakes.
Make the cake:
- Cream the butter and almond paste in the food processer
- Add the sugar and lemon zest
- Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time while food processor is running
- Stir in the dry ingredients and pour batter into a prepared cake pan and top with sliced almonds.
Tips for making this the Best Almond cake:
- Use a food processor if you have one available. Add the almond paste and butter to the food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process on full speed for about two minutes. The mixture should be creamed but might be a bit grainy.
- If you don’t have a food processor a mixer can be used. Just make sure the butter and almond paste are mixed well and long enough to become creamy. It may still be a little grainy, but you should not have large pieces of almond paste in the batter.
- Scape down the sides as needed to make sure all the ingredients are mixed in properly or you will have chunks of almond paste in your cake.
- Transfer batter to a bowl and add the dry ingredients, then mix by hand. I do this to avoid over mixing the batter. Once all the almond four is blended in stop mixing.
- Line the bottom of your baking pan with parchment paper. This will help the cake slide right out of the pan without sticking.
- Add the sliced almonds to the top of the cake before baking. They will bake into the top of the cake and they look so pretty!
How to bring butter to room temperature quickly without melting it
Fill a glass with water and put it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes. Pour the water out and place the glass over a stick of butter and just leave it for 10 minutes. Your butter will be evenly and perfectly softened!
How to bring eggs to room temperature
Here are 2 ways to bring eggs to room temperature in the time it takes to prepare all your other ingredients:
1. Crack the egg into a small bowl and place the bowl into a larger bowl of warm water being careful not to allow the water to overflow into the bowl with the egg. This works especially well if you need to separate the eggs and you jus want to warm up either the yolk or the whites.
2. Place the whole egg into a bowl of warm tap water.
For both methods, make sure the water is not hot or the egg may start to cook. When the egg is no longer cool to the touch, it is ready to use.
How to line a cake pan with parchment paper
Place the baking pan on a piece of parchment paper large enough to fit the pan completely and trace along the outside of the pan with a pencil. Cut along the pencil marks. Grease the bottom and sides of the pan and place the parchment circle on the bottom. Grease the parchment paper. Now lightly flour the bottom and sides of the pan.
Almond flour is heavier than cake flour or AP flour, so baked goods will rise less or spread out more. Cookies for instance will spread more and cakes and other non-yeast baked goods will not rise as high.
Almond meal is made from raw unpeeled almonds, while almond flour is made from blanched (peeled) almonds. Almond flour has a finer texture and is lighter in color then almond meal.
Yes, you can substitute all-purpose flour for some or all of the almond flour in this recipe, but it will change the texture of the cake. The cake will rise higher and be less dense and less moist than the recipe using almond flour.
No, they are quite different. Marzipan has much more sugar in it, and it is stiffer than almond paste. It can be eaten as candy and it is often dyed and shaped into fruits. Almond paste on the other hand has less sugar in it and is softer so it is used in baking rather than on it’s own.
Believe it or not, almonds are the most widely grown nut in the world and Italy is one of the largest producers of this fabulous nut. Some of the best almonds are grown in Sicily near the towns of Noto and Siracusa. So, it is no surprise that you see almonds used in so many Italian baked goods and confections. Many of the traditional cakes and cookies from Italy are made with almonds including my mother’s famous Sicilian Almond Paste Cookies and Nonna’s Easy Almond Ring.
Other desserts that you will enjoy
If cakes are more your thing then I have you covered. Select from an assortment of flavors such as Italian Cheesecake, Coconut Almond Cake, Flourless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Chambord Glaze, The Best Polish Pound Cake, Pistachio Bundt Cake with Chocolate Chips or Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Happy baking!
Almond Cake Recipe
- 1 Food processor
- 1 Parchment Paper
- 1 9" x 2" Round cake pan
- 4 oz Almond Paste cut into small pieces
- ½ cup Butter softened
- ½ cup Sugar
- ½ tsp Lemon Zest
- 4 Eggs
- ½ tsp Almond Extract
- 1⅓ cups Almond Flour not almond meal
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- ½ cup Slivered Almonds
- 2 tbsp Powdered Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the cake pan. Grease the bottom and sides the cake pan with butter or cooking spray. Line the cake pan with the parchment paper. Grease the parchment paper. Dust the pan bottom and sides with flour and discard any excess.
- Place the almond paste and butter in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process until the butter and almond paste are creamed, about 2 minutes. Scarp down the sides to make sure that all of the almond paste is mixed into the butter.
- With the food processor running, add the sugar and lemon zest.
- Continue to run the food processor and add the eggs one at a time, stopping between each one to make sure that it is fully blended in. Add the Almond extract while blending. Stop the processor once all have been mixed in.
- Stir together the almond flour, baking powder and salt.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the almond flour mixture, just until is completely combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
- Sprinkle the almonds on the top of the batter and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes. The cake should pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove the cake from the pan and place on a cooling rack. When completely cool, Dust with powdered sugar.