Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ines' Fabulous Almond Cake

Finally, before I sign off tonight, I'm going to post the most-requested recipe in my repertoire. EVERY time I make this, at least one person asks for the recipe (usually more). It's from my friend Ines, whose dessert-making skills are legendary. Everyone who's had the pleasure of dining at her house agrees that she's the best cook in Columbia.

This cake is not only super-delicious, it's SUPER easy to make. I almost always keep at least one can of Solo brand pure almond paste in the cupboard in case I need to make a tasty dessert in a pinch.

1 stick of butter, soft
3/4 cup sugar
8 oz. almond paste (e.g. Solo brand)

Blend together until smooth. Beat in:

Orange and lemon zest (I usually omit this)
3 eggs, one at a time
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Generously butter and flour an 8-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

(The tricky thing about this recipe is the 8-inch cake pan, which might not be standard equipment in your kitchen. I know I only used to have 9-inch cake pans, until I started making my chocolate grappa cake several years back, which required an 8-inch pan. It's kind of a specialty item, though not as specialized as, say, a 20-inch cake pan, which I only just acquired last year. And while I'm on the subject of pans, does it seem to you that they travel in pairs? I mean, when I got my 8-inch cake pans, just like my 9-inch cake pans, I bought two. My mother always had pairs of cake pans, so that's what I did. Most layer cakes are just two layers. But recently I wanted to make a cake recipe that called for three 8-inch layers and I was out of luck because I never anticipated that I might need three such pans.)

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