The kitchen is packed; the furniture to be given away is gone, the garage is almost there and ‘my stuff’ (lights, camera, food, food props, kitchen must haves) are all at my friend Karen’s or in my studio at my daughter Emily’s. I made this cake for the first Denver food blogger Meetup I put together over 2 years ago and it’s now got an even more memorable place in my heart; it’s the last thing I made in this kitchen before the mixer and pans and bowls were packed. I hope I always remember my kitchen here when I see this cake; it has been good to me and my family. My girls don’t get why leaving this house is so emotional…but for me there are memories in every nook and cranny; in every crumb, in every bite.
And it is a memorable cake; I just LOVE it. It’s very much like a pound cake with the added bonus of having a heavenly almond flavor. I found it in the RSVP section of Bon Appetit magazine and the reader who requested the recipe commented that she could not get enough of it. I get that, it’s just a great cake and the jam filling is perfect. Both texture and flavor are outstanding but my first go around it fell; twice. A bit of finagling and I’ve finally got it right…high altitude does mean finding a balance between lessening the leavening and increasing the oven temp and I’ve finally found my nirvana.
I thought I knew where I might have erred the first go around. Lesser well known than the issues with leavening agents are what can happen with over-beating. Our higher altitude and less dense air plays with the science of baked goods rising and too much rising, even in the form of beating til fluffy, can see a baked good rise too fast and then deflate before the baking has actually set components in place. This recipe required that the butter, sugar and almond paste be beat for 3 minutes to get fluffy so I guessed that I had beat that mixture more than I should have. To combat a repeat, I was determined to beat those ingredients precisely for 2 minutes. And raise the oven temp to 375 degrees, eliminate 1/4 tsp of baking powder and use extra large eggs to make sure the end result was not dry.
That did the trick and except for substituting raspberry jam for the boysenberry that was specified it was a perfect rendition. Really…a totally fabulous cake! By the way, I never write recipes on this site that include my revisions for high altitude; they are meant for those of you at sea level but if you are a mile high like I am..do be sure to make your standard revisions and best of luck; even with that depression the first time? Did I mention I just love this cake?
Almond Cake with Raspberry Pomegranate Jam
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup plus 1 Tbsp almond paste. This was in the baking aisle and it comes in a can. I went to three stores before I found it but heard that World Market carries it and Whole Foods too.
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ⅓ cup raspberry jam (use what you have too...boysenberry blueberry, blackberry, strawberry...I would even love it with peach jam!
- Lightly sweetened whipping cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 8 in round cake pan with two inch sides. Line bottom with parchment or waxed paper and butter again.
- Blend sugar and almond paste in processor til finely ground.
- Put flour, salt and baking powder into small bowl and whisk to blend.
- Using electric mixer, beat butter, sugar and almond paste on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium high until each is incorporated.
- Fold in dry ingredients and transfer mix to pan.
- Bake for 40 minutes without opening oven, rotate pan and bake until cake is golden and firm to the touch. (Another high altitude change...I only baked mine for at most 35 minutes total).
- Cool in pan for 10 minutes, run knife around outer edge, invert cake onto flat surface and remove paper from the bottom. Turn over and cook on rack.
- Cut cake in half horizontally using a long serrated knife (bread knife is perfect).
- Using the bottom of a tart pan, transfer the top half of the cake to a work surface.
- Put remaining piece of cake, cut side up, on cake plate and spread the surface with jam. Place top half of cake on top of jam, cut side down.
- Dust with confectioner's sugar and served with lightly sweetened whipping cream NOTE: To evenly cut the cake, measure the overall height. Then mark the halfway point with toothpicks at several points all around the cake. Use these toothpicks as your guide to slowly cut the cake in half with a serrated knife.