30 January 2013

Almond Crunch Topped Cake

I've had this cake recipe in my pocket for some time now and I just stumbled upon it again a couple of days ago.  I'm not quite sure how I forgot about because it is so easy and so tasty.  I love any and all things almond flavored.  I'm pretty sure I acquired this love when I went to Paris a few years ago.  The Parisians can do wonderful, magical things with almonds.   I like to think that we Southern ladies can do similar things with pecans, but that's another story altogether.

One warning about this cake.  There's not a lot of batter.  When you pour the batter into the pan, you're going to think that I have lost my mid or mis-typed the ingredients.  No worries, though.  This batter rises like a champ and makes a lovely sized, fluffy cake.  This little glass of liquid in the picture is where all the magic happens, though.  My husband asked me why I had a glass of dirty water sitting on the counter when he saw it.  Make no mistake, though, this is the magical elixir -- the almond syrup.  You pour it over the hot cake, which is sprinkled with almond slices, then stick the whole thing under the broiler.  It turns all toasty and golden on top and almond-syrup soaked on the bottom.  I can't really think of anything better.  At least not while I have a hot cake steaming just inches from me.

Almond Crunch Topped Cake
makes one 9" cake

Print me, Please!!!

for the cake:
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
2/3 cup sliced almonds

for the almond syrup:
3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp water
1 tsp almond extract

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350°.  Stir together the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine the egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and almond extracts.  Stir in the butter.  Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 9" springform pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and springy to the touch.

While the cake is baking, make the almond syrup.  In a small saucepan, combine the 3/4 cup sugar and water.  Bring to a boil and cook to 220° on a candy thermometer.  Remove from the heat and stir in the almond extract.

Once done, remove the cake from the oven and immediately turn on the broiler.  Sprinkle the sliced almonds on top of the hot cake, then pour the almond syrup over the top of the cake and almonds.  Broil the cake 6" from the heat until the almonds are lightly toasted.  DO NOT walk away.  This only takes a minute or two.  Let the cake cool completely before releasing the sides of the springform pan.

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