Food Column ATK Italian Almond Cake

This undated photo provided by America’s Test Kitchen in April 2019 shows an Italian Almond Cake in Brookline, Mass. This recipe appears in the cookbook “The Perfect Cake.” (Carl Tremblay/America’s Test Kitchen via AP)

Simple, rich almond cake makes a sophisticated and delicately sweet dessert, but traditional European versions tend to be heavy and dense. For a slightly cakier version with plenty of nutty flavor, we swapped out the usual almond paste for toasted blanched sliced almonds (we disliked the slight bitterness imparted by skin-on almonds) and added a bit of almond extract for extra depth.

A generous amount of lemon zest provided subtle brightness. For an even lighter crumb, we increased the flour slightly and added baking powder_an untraditional ingredient_to ensure proper rise.

Making the batter in a food processor broke down some of the protein structure in the eggs, ensuring that the cake had a level, not domed, top, which was especially important for this unfrosted dessert. We swapped some butter for oil and lowered the oven temperature to produce an evenly baked, moist cake.

For a crunchy finishing touch, we topped the cake with sliced almonds and a sprinkle of lemon-infused sugar. If you can’t find blanched sliced almonds, grind slivered almonds for the batter and use unblanched sliced almonds for the topping.

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