I found the recipe for this cake in the New York Times in the Dining and Wine section on the on-line version of this publication a few years ago. I made this cake last night and it is continuing with my passion for lemon flavoured desserts and lemon butter.
The last time I made this cake was 2002 and baked it to take to work nd share with colleagues and that is exactly what I did again today. It was still as good as I remembered.
As with most recipes from U.S publications the measurements are somewhat unfamiliar to us Antipodes. One day I hope to convert it to grams for convenience sake but that doesn't mean it isn't that difficult to work with the recipe below just a bit fiddly:
Lemon-Almond Butter Cake (adapted from ‘in the Hands of a Chef")
For the lemon curd Grated zest and juice of 2 lemons 3/8 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (I use a half a cup - no big deal about being exact!) 4 extra-large eggs 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
For the cake 9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour 1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 extra large eggs ½ cup ground toasted almonds 2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds About ½ cup heavy cream for garnish 1 tablespoon almond liqueur (optional)
For the curd – combine zest, juice, sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl, and beat well. Add butter, and place over a saucepan full of simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until mixture thickens into curd, about 5 minutes. Strain into a bowl, and press plastic wrap onto suface to keep skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, at least 1 ½ hours.
Heat oven to 350 degrees (I didn't convert exactly and decided to use about 180 degrees C ).
Grease 9 inch springform pan with 1 tablespoon butter, and dust with 1 tablespoon flour, shaking out excess. I also used some silicone paper on the base of the pan.
With an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter and 1 cup sugar together until light and fluffy.
Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt, and stir in. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until they start to foam. Do not over beat or the cake will be tough.
Add eggs and ground almonds to batter and mix well. Scrape batter into the prepared pan, drop 8 individual tablespoons of lemon curd around the perimeter of the batter, leaving a 1 inch border, and taking care to space drops evenly.
Drop 3 to 4 tablespoons of curd in the centre of the batter. Refrigerate remaining curd for another use. Sprinkle the cake with toasted almonds and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on taste.
Bake until cake is toasty brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the curd) comes out clean, about 40 minutes.
Let cool on rack 10 minutes, then remove side of pan, and cool completely. Whip cream with almond liqueur. Present cake at table and offer whipped cream on the side.
Some of my experiences with this recipe - I used an 8 inch pan and was only able to fit six tablespoons of curd about the perimeter of the pan and drop two in the middle.
The sprinkle of sugar isn't really necessary - given the one cup in the batter. I haven't thought it necessary to use the almond essence in the whipped cream but do think the whipped cream is essential with such a dense cake.