Cake

An Almond Cake You Can Never Have Too Much Of

April  9, 2015

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.

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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. 

Luckily, I was holding onto a recipe for Almond Coffee Cake from our home and design editor Amanda Sims. It was waiting in the wings all along, a quiet understudy twiddling its perfect little thumbs.

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.

Almond Coffee Cake

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
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup sliced or slivered almonds

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Mark Weinberg

23 Comments

Silvia R. July 4, 2015
LOOOOVE AND hate FINDING YOUR SITE BECAUSE I HAD TO HAVE A GASTRIC BY PASS A FEW YEARS AGO, AND MY BELLY HAD GROWN TO A SIZE I WAS'NT USED TO ANYMORE. CAUSE I LOVE TO EAT ALMOST ANYTHING MADE OF FLOUR, ONE OF THE THINGS I WAS NOT TO EAT EVER AGAIN. WELL. I JUST SEE THOSE PICTURES OF CAKE HERE, SPECIALLY THIS ALMOND ONE, MY WEAKNESS, AND WISH I CAN JUST GRAB THEM AND GOBBLE THEM DOWN. THEY LOOK UNBELIEVABLY DELICIOUS. THANK YOU AND MAD FOR YOUR SHARING. SEE HOW TORTURED YOU GOT ME? HAAA HAAA. THANKS.
 
dymnyno June 4, 2015
This picture looks like my Almond Lover's Tart which is just as easy and is an impressive dessert/breakfast .When I make it I have a hard time keeping my fingers out of it.
 
Leah R. April 15, 2015
I have to bring a breakfast treat in for the teachers for teacher appreciation week...has anyone tried doubling and baking in a 9x13? Or should I just stick with making two separate cakes? Thanks!!
 
jeaniesims April 14, 2015
I have made this recipe for 20 years and do not use the crème fraîche, but instead add 3/4 c. melted butter. I always double the recipe and freeze one to pull out when needed (or wanted). It is dense and rich with crusty/chewy edges and I wouldn't change a thing!
 
garlic A. April 13, 2015
This is right up my alley - I love anything with nuts, but the simplicity makes this one a winner!
 
Mariana A. April 12, 2015
When I look at recipes & what the sugar to flour ratio is .. I can generally see that the sugar ratio should be less than the flour amount. I have so many recipes, that I can compare with or just use your baking sense.
 
Kat April 12, 2015
Ok, I made this a few hours ago. Although mine was already firm and cooked through after 30 minutes, the top was pale and only just golden. Irrelevant, this is delicious and fragrant. I cut the sugar to just 1 cup and used a teaspoon of sugar on top. Will make this again.
 
friedalighthouse April 11, 2015
I sorta hate it when people sub out all kinds of ingredients. But my bent in baking involves whole wheat pastry flour and alternative sugars. This recipe us so good and sturdy that it was fantastic with ww pastry flour and coconut palm sugar ( and sour cream!). A different cake, to be sure, but this recipe took to my changes beautifully. Very tender crumb. Keeper for me.
 
tamater S. April 12, 2015
I love reading subs by commenters: #1 - as long as the changes are logical; you read some whacky stuff on the net. It has to make at least, intuitive sense. #2 - there aren't so many changes that it's really a whole 'nother recipe altogether. #3 - last, and perhaps most important: when the commenter has made changes, and the recipe didn't work out, let them NOT blame the person who submitted the original recipe! <br />I'm with you on the whole wheat pastry flour and trying alternative sweetenings, (I usually cut out by about 1/3 of sugar) and I often add a touch more salt.
 
Marian B. April 11, 2015
Is it appropriate for me to bake this and serve it as "Robert Frost's Almond Cake"? Somewhat related: Is it appropriate for me to eat chunks of it on the train home at 2 AM when I've found half a slice wrapped in tin foil at the bottom of my purse?
 
tamater S. April 12, 2015
In my not so humble opinion, anyone who does not eat the cake should be publicly shamed; put in stocks at the train station, with a sign hung around the neck, saying "I didn't eat the purse-cake."
 
friedalighthouse April 10, 2015
Is sour cream an acceptable substitute? Creme fraiche is not a pantry staple for me, and probably many others.
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. April 10, 2015
I think either sour cream or full-fat yogurt (Greek or regular) will work! You might just have a different tang factor!
 
Margaret April 10, 2015
I found this a tad sweet, but love the idea. It ended up tasting a bit like a sugar cookie, maybe more so because of the sugar on top. I think next time I'll reduce the sugar by a half cup. I will definitely try it again, though! Another way to eat marzipan, that definitely won me over.
 
manykittiesmama April 10, 2015
This is almost the exact recipe for Swedish Visiting Cake. The only difference is the addition of creme fraiche instead of lemon zest. Visiting Cake is awesome, so it will be interesting to try this new twist.
 
jeaniesims April 9, 2015
I think the best thing about this recipe is that it calls for melted butter so I don't have to remember to soften it. But maybe that's a 50's thing...
 
Amanda S. April 10, 2015
Nobody likes to soften butter, mom! Nobody.
 
Marian B. April 11, 2015
I can't stand it!
 
Kenzi W. April 9, 2015
I am so thankful to Jeanie.
 
Daisy April 9, 2015
I had all the ingredients and just whipped it out after breakfast. One mistake I made: I sprinkled too much sugar on top. It's in the oven now. That mistake might not be too serious...
 
Author Comment
Sarah J. April 9, 2015
Ah! Let me know how you like it!
 
aargersi April 9, 2015
STOP making me want cake a week and a half before I go on a bathing suit intensive vacation! I will be Molly's cakey bridesmaid. The Melissa McCarthy one.
 
molly Y. April 9, 2015
whereas princess cake is a really hot date of a cake, i feel like this cake is more marrying material. yeah, i would marry this.