Surprise, surprise: Almond and orange cake

Oh, I know. Every cake that appears on this blog these days seems to contain ground almonds and citrus flavours. Orange and squash cupcakes. Simple lemon, almond and apricot cake. Citrus polenta and almond drizzle cake. I’m even bending others to my will: take the almond and apricot cake I more or less forced my sister to bake earlier this week.

What can I say? I am a woman obsessed. I know things need to change around here (variety is the spice of life and all that) but not before you allow me to indulge in one more almond and citrus cake. Deal?

And this one is different! From Jeanne Lemlin’s Simple Vegetarian Pleasures, this simple, sunken cake depends on almond paste for its uber moist, spongy texture. In fact, the reason I was drawn to this cake in the first place was because it seemed like the perfect use for my log of almond paste (a less sweet version of marzipan) that I’d bought at New York’s Dean & Deluca and had been holding onto since May.

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I can say that the almond paste was not wasted here. This cake has an unbelievable texture and a deep, almondy flavour. A perfect ‘final almond hurrah’.
But now that I’m off the poison for awhile… what to bake next? I think I’ll let loose and go crazy. Brownies, anyone?

Orange Almond Cake
Adapted from Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin

7 oz (200 g) almond paste
4 oz (113 g) unsalted butter, very soft
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier) or freshly squeezed orange juice
zest of 1 orange
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
icing sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325F / 160C. Grease and flour an 8- or 9-inch springform pan.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Crumble the almond paste with your fingers and add it to the bowl along with the zest and liqueur or juice. Beat until perfectly blended, another couple of minutes.

Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition if necessary. Beat until the batter is smooth and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and baking powder and mix the batter until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake in the centre of the oven for about 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and the sides are beginning to shrink away from the pan. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before unmoulding and inverting the cake onto a plate. Flip the cake back over and, once cool, dust with icing sugar.