Recipe Secret: To make sure that the inside of the baking pan is coated to prevent the cake from sticking, brush the inside of the pan with melted butter, then refrigerate the pan for 5 minutes so the butter will harden, enabling you to see any missed spots. Brush with more melted butter and dust immediately with flour.
Linda Carucci, a meticulous baker, prefers using fine sea salt in this recipe because it does not contain the anti-caking ingredient found in table salt.
Serve with a raspberry coulis or fill the center of the finished cake with fresh strawberries.
Servings: 12 - 16
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour, sifted twice, plus additional for preparing the baking pan
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 4 ounces almond paste
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus additional for preparing the baking pan
- 6 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, preferably Tahitian
- 1 cup low-fat sour cream
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch Bundt pan or tube pan.
Over a sheet of waxed paper, sift together the cake flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the almond paste until smooth. Add the sugar to combine thoroughly. Add the butter and beat until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape down the bowl. Then add the egg yolks and vanilla extract until well combined.
Starting and ending with the dry ingredients, alternately add the sifted flour mixture to the batter in 3 increments and the sour cream in 2 increments, remaining on low speed and mixing well after each addition. Stir in the lemon zest, and set aside.
In another large bowl using clean beaters or the electric mixer's whip attachment, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Set aside.
Return the bowl of batter to the mixer, and, on low speed, add about one-third of the beaten egg whites to the batter until just combined. By hand, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the remaining egg whites into the batter.
Pour the incorporated batter into the prepared Bundt or tube pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 to 11/4 hours, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean and the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a rack to cool, letting the cake remain in the pan for 5 minutes. Then place a rack on top of the pan and invert the cake and rack together, carefully removing the pan, and let the cake cool completely, right side up. Using a fine-mesh strainer, dust the cake with confectioners' sugar.
Adapted from "Cooking School Secrets for Real World Cooks," by Linda Carucci (Chronicle Books, 2005).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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