Would you like a piece of cake right now? For Goodness Cake is here for you. Every week, we'll be sharing recipes that prove why cake should be its own food group.
Today: This cake recipe comes from someone who's made it "like 238,222 times." After tasting it, you'll be eager to beat her record.
There comes a time in life when you will be sick of cake. You will say no when someone offers it to you (and when that doesn’t work, you’ll be adamant about refusing seconds). There also comes a time in life—but this is only hearsay—when you might even be sick of dessert in general. Let’s hope that these are both passing phases.
I recently found myself in a cake slump. I was saddened by my temperamental oven; I had exceeded my "tender,” “crumby,” “soft,” and “easy” quota; I was introduced to Prinssesstårta—a Swedish layer cake made up of sponge cake, pastry cream, a whipped cream dome, and a marzipan topcoat—and almost had a heart attack. I just wanted to make cookies. Or—here’s a wild idea—vegetables.
And yet, the world was still turning, time was still ticking, and the people (at least those more vital than I), still wanted cake. The only kind I could imagine making, eating, and cleaning up after was one baked straight from my pantry, with no risks and no hype—the green tea and bone broth ancient grain cake would have to wait.
It took about five minutes to make the batter, and the hardest part would have been sifting the flour had I done that (save yourself some time and just whisk it well before measuring). I couldn’t wait the recommended hour before slicing into the almond-cobbled top, which I took to be the first indication that I was on the mend.
And, as is almost always the case, eating the warm cake was much better than staring at it. I’ve always wished there were a chewier and more socially acceptable way to eat marzipan, and here it is—plus there’s only 1 teaspoon of almond extract in the entire thing. No marzipan! No almond meal! Let's all celebrate and have a good time! Baking the cake in a shallow pan—like a cast-iron skillet or a pie pan—produces a crackly top and firm, sugar cookie-like edges.
I guess I should’ve trusted Amanda all along: She first sent me this recipe along with the claim that her mom, Jeanie, has made it “like 238,222 times.” Jeanie makes the cake, the original recipe for which is from the Junior League of Knoxville’s cookbook Tennessee Tables and contributed by Judith Stephens Frost (Mrs. Robert B.), to eat and gift every year for Christmas. It freezes well, so bake two and stash one away; as Jeanie says, it's "always a special treat to find a forgotten one in the freezer in the summer." This is insider information, but Amanda tells me her dad is known to eat it straight from the freezer, shaved into thin slices and with equal-sized slices of cold butter. I like the way he thinks.
Slightly adapted from Tennessee Tables
Serves 8 to 10
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) butter, melted
1/4 cup crème fraîche
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds
Photos by Mark Weinberg