This cake is a non-dairy version of Amanda Hesser's Almond Cake, found in the New York Times Essential Cookbook and earlier in her column in the New York Times, August, 2001. Not all cakes can make the jump from dairy to non-dairy without suffering for it - but this one, which I've made several times, really stands up to the modification. This cake looks much like a nut torte, but does contain flour.
Amanda Hesser credited the recipe to her mother-in-law, Elizabeth. She wrote that her mother-in-law described the cake as, "The Shar-Pei of cakes." Assuming that her mother in law meant ugly but delightful, it's an apt description. The cake crumbles a bit along the edges and doesn't always slice perfectly; however, it's rich and very yummy. —Ann Goldman
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Grease the 2 pans, line the bottom of each with parchment paper.
Combine the flour and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
Cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the salt and almond paste, a small chunk at a time. Keep mixing until well blended.
Add the yolks, one at a time, continuously mixing. The mixture will be creamy. Add the extract.
Combine the coconut milk and vinegar and pour into the mixing bowl and continue to blend.
Gradually add the flour mixture at low speed and mix until just blended. Don't over mix, you are not looking to develop gluten.
Divide and pour into the prepared pans. The mixture will be thick, use a spatula to smooth out as well as you can. The batter will not pour in nicely, it will look a bit rough around the edges - don't worry- it will mostly smooth out in the oven. This cake does look a bit rustic after baked- that's ok.
Top with almonds if desired. (The original recipe suggested a sprinkling of powdered sugar over the finished cake.)
Bake for 1 hour. The cake will brown slightly, feel firm but soft in the center. Cool completely and then use the parchment at the bottom to help you lift the cake out of the pan. The cake crumbles easily.
This cake is best when left to age for a day or two before serving. Amanda Hesser notes that it stays well for a week or two, I've never had that experience, the cake gets eaten too quickly!