The best moist almond cake! This cake is perfect served with seasonal fruit, or simply with a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Gluten-free variation.
I’ve been busy testing almond cake recipes, in search of the one.
And by “the one,” I’m referring to that perfect simple cake that tastes great plain or dressed up with this cream cheese icing and fresh summer berries.
The best almond cake
Most importantly, the best almond cake recipe, in my opinion, is a perfect companion to the various fruits that come and go all year long:
- Lemon, orange and other citrus
- Peaches, plums and nectarines
- Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries (all the berries, basically)
- Apples and pears
This lovely, fragrant almond cake is it.
Made with almond paste and butter, it’s definitely one to bookmark when the baking urge strikes.
Just like a basic t-shirt, this great cake goes with everything.
What flavors go well with almond cake?
Almonds pair well with so many fruits.
Especially stone fruits, because they’re actually related to them botanically: Peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and even apples.
Stone fruit pits are also the source of bitter almond flavoring, which is used in extracts, liqueurs and baked goods.
The pits contain oils that are used to produce almond extract and flavorings, each kernel harboring a small amount of prussic acid (a/k/a potassium cyanide).
But don’t worry — we’re talking trace amounts that are destroyed when heated during the manufacturing process.
Finally, my cake recipe research narrowed down to a handful of delicious contenders.
I made an almond cake with olive oil (no butter) that turned out with a chiffon-like crumb that was dry and more crumbly than I wanted.
Next, I tried a recipe from Diana Henry, whose almond cake calls for marzipan (basically the same as almond paste but sweeter) and fruit baked right in.
Ultimately, I landed on what turned out to be my favorite, a cake from Samin Nosrat’s book Salt Fat Acid Heat.
As a side note, If you haven’t picked up Samin’s book already, do it now!
It’s a little treasure for anyone obsessed with food and learning how to cook instinctively.
After making the cake a few times and making some of my own tweaks, I’m happy to share the recipe with you!
Instead of using ground almonds or almond flour, the cake is made with a mixture of almond paste and flour.
And the method of dribbling eggs into the butter while the processor is running — essentially making an emulsion — is a genius move.
The cake batter turns into a lusciously smooth mixture that bakes up dense, moist and soft-textured.
Another thing to love about making this cake is that you can mix the batter in a food processor.
If you don’t have a food processor, mix the batter with an electric mixer instead, first breaking the almond paste into crumbs with your hands.
Gluten-Free Almond Cake
This cake can be made entirely gluten-free, if you like.
I’ve made this cake using a gluten-free flour blend (King Arthur’s Measure for Measure) in place of the all-purpose flour and it turns out perfectly.
I have a feeling you’re going to fall in love with the texture and intense almond-y flavor of this cake!
Try it as a tea cake or alongside your favorite seasonal fruit.
Tips for making the best almond cake:
- If you bake the cake but don’t plan on serving it right away, keep it well wrapped for a day or two.
- After topping the cake with cream cheese glaze, keep the cake refrigerated and bring to room temperature. Add the berries just before serving.
- The cake tastes amazing as is, but feel free to jazz up the batter with fresh lemon or orange zest or vanilla.
- 1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend (I use King Arthur's Measure for Measure)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 room temperature eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 7-ounce tube almond paste, crumbled into small pieces
- 1 1/4 cups (275 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons softened butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar (sifted through a mesh strainer if lumpy)
- 1 - 2 cups mixed blueberries, raspberries and sliced strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
- Pulse the almond paste in a food processor until it's broken into even pieces. Add the sugar and process for 30 seconds, until the mixture appears fine and sandy textured.
- Add the butter and process for a full 2 minutes until light and fluffy, scraping down the workbowl if necessary.
- With the machine running, slowly dribble in the egg. You want the mixture to emulsify and become thick, blended and creamy.
- Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl. Place a strainer over the bowl and sift the flour mixture over the batter. Fold gently to mix, just until the flour is incorporated.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and the top springs back lightly.
- Cool the cake 20 minutes, then release the sides of the pan and cool completely on a rack.
- To make the topping: Beat the cream cheese and butter in a stand mixer on medium speed with the paddle attachment until smooth. Add the salt and sugar and beat until creamy. Refrigerate until it's time to serve the cake.
- Spread the topping over the cake and decorate the top of the cake with the berries. Serve.
- Wait until the cake is completely cool before topping with the icing.
- After icing, the cake can be lightly covered with plastic and refrigerated, but add the berries just before serving.
- Instead of the icing, serve the cake plain or simply sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Store the plain (no icing) cake at room temperature, wrapped in plastic for 3 - 4 days.
Adapted from a recipe in Salt, Fat, Acid Heat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 631Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 435mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 2gSugar: 60gProtein: 9g