Almond Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine yellow cornmeal
1-1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, separated
1-1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup almond paste
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup whole milk
2/3 cup sliced almonds with skins
confectioners sugar, for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom with a round of parchment paper, and butter again.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites with 1/4 cup sugar until soft billowy peaks form. The whites should glisten like a meringue. Scrape whites into another bowl.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, at medium speed, cream the butter until fluffy. Add the almond paste and remaining 1 cup sugar; continue to beat until incorporated. Add vanilla and egg yolks, one at a time, and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients, then the milk, and finish with the dry ingredients. By hand fold in the egg whites, half at a time, until just combined.

Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top. Bake for 20 minutes. Cake will be raw and jiggly. Scatter the sliced almonds on top of the cake. Be careful not to jostle the cake too much while adding the almonds. It's best to do so right in the oven. Turn cake so that it bakes evenly. Continue to bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool completely in pan.

Once cool, the cake should recede slightly from the rim of the pan. Run a thin knife around cake and turn out onto a rack. Some almonds may be lost. Remove pan and the parchment paper liner. Carefully flip cake onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioners sugar. Yield: 12 slices.


Joseph Erdos is a New York–based writer and editor, but above all a gastronomer and oenophile. He shares his passion for food on his blog, Gastronomer's Guide , which features unique recipes and restaurant reviews among many other musings on the all-encompassing topic of food.