To me, the almond is the queen of nuts. Almonds are refined, not too fatty and extremely nutritious – and they have a delicate aroma that’s a great complement to so many foods. This cake is a celebration of the succulent kernel; every spoonful is filled with the wonderful texture of ground almonds and the exquisite flavor of almond essence.
This cake is not as dense, nor as rich, as a pound cake, yet it still has that irresistible crumbly, cake-y quality. To lighten things up, I like to serve the flavorful slices with strawberries that have been macerated with strawberry or cassis liqueur, and a chantilly spiked with zingy ginger preserve.
An elegant cake that’s perfect for a spring brunch or an Easter feast!
Almond cake with strawberries and ginger chantilly
makes 1 medium cake or 8 servings
active time: 35 min
For the cake
- 4 oz (115 g) (3/4 cup) blanched almonds
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 4 extra large eggs – at room temperature
- 2/3 cup organic sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 8 tablespoons (4 oz) (115 g) unsalted butter – melted and slightly cooled
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
For the strawberries
- 1 lb (455 g) strawberries – hulled and cut in 1/4″ pieces
- 1 tablespoon organic sugar
- 2 tablespoons strawberry or cassis liqueur
For the chantilly
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup ginger preserve
- mint sprigs as garnish
- powdered sugar as garnish
- 9″ non-stick round spring-form cake pan – buttered and floured
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
- Step 1: Place the blanched almonds in the bowl of a food processor with 1 tablespoon of the flour and process until very finely chopped, about 1 minute. You should end up with 1 cup of ground almonds. Alternatively, you can purchase almond meal/flour. You’ll need 1 cup.
- Step 2: Place the ground almonds, balance of the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Stir well and set aside.
- Step 3: Place the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip at high speed until foamy and ribbony. While continuing to whip the eggs at high speed, gradually add the sugar and then the almond extract. Continue whipping until soft peaks form. With a silicone spatula, fold half the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just incorporated. Then fold in the melted butter until just incorporated. Finish by folding in the balance of the flour mixture. Do not overmix or the cake won’t rise. Pour batter into the prepared mold. Sprinkle with the slivered almonds and sugar, and bake for to 30 to 35 minutes until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool before unmolding.
- Step 4: While the cake is baking, place the strawberries in a bowl. Add the sugar and liqueur. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The strawberries will release their juices.
- Step 5: Place the heavy cream in the bowl of an electric mixer. Whip at medium speed until thickened, taking care not to overbeat. Add the ginger preserve and whip for another 5 seconds until well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
- Step 6: To serve, place each slice of cake in the center of a dessert plate. Spoon the strawberries next to it along with some of the juices. Place a dollop of the ginger chantilly next to the strawberries. Garnish with a mint sprig, dust with powdered sugar and serve immediately.
- Cook’s note: Although it’s best eaten the day it’s made, the cake will keep at room temperature, in a cool place, for up to two days.