Almond Cake with Blueberry Coulis Recipe

I had my first taste of this cake at my friend Adam‘s last December. I was in New York for a whirlwind visit to promote the big fat pink book, and he and Craig had invited me to dinner at their place.

I would have been grateful for any home-cooked meal, which is by far my favorite kind when I travel, but this was a truly delicious dinner, one that refutes the “amateur” in “amateur gourmet.”

After a salad of roasted beets and a dish of milk-braised pork (read Adam’s post for the recipes), dessert was this almond cake, after a recipe Amanda Hesser published in the New York Times, and then in the edited collection of her columns, Cooking for Mr. Latte.

It was a spectacular almond cake, buttery and fragrant, moist in the middle with a good crust all around. After I’d finished the extra slice Adam gave me to take home (or in this case, back to the hotel) with me, I vowed to bake one just like it.

It took me a few months to act upon this wish, but I finally did when my nephew turned two in the spring, and the family got together to celebrate.

The distinguishing trait of this recipe is that it draws its flavor not from whole or powdered almonds, but from almond paste, and this contributes to the smooth, tender texture of the crumb. (It also reminds me of Julia’s Swedish cake, which I’ve had my eye on for a while and hope to make when apples return.)

I lightened up the recipe a little, lowering the amount of butter and sugar*, and using yogurt in place of sour cream, but the cake remained a pleasingly indulgent affair.

Because the almond and the blueberry are BFFs, I also prepared a quick blueberry coulis to serve with the cake: the idea was to make it a little more sophisticated, and provide a note of tartness to cut through its richness. And, well, I also had some blueberries in the freezer that I was hoping to use in preparation for a much-needed spring defrosting, which still hasn’t happened, but let’s not dwell on that.

The grown-ups around the table agreed this was a very, very good almond cake, but more important, the birthday boy wolfed down his (admittedly small) slice, asked for seconds, then thirds, and eventually had to be distracted with the toy shinkansen we’d brought him back from Japan so there would be leftovers for tea the next day.

* The original recipe calls for 8 ounces of butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar; I used 7 ounces butter and 3/4 cup sugar.

Almond Cake

Almond Cake with Blueberry Coulis Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

One 22-cm (9-inch) round cake

Almond Cake with Blueberry Coulis Recipe

Ingredients

  • 200 grams (7 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) sugar (I use unrefined blond cane sugar)
  • 200 grams (7 ounces) almond paste (I buy the Perl'amande brand at the organic store)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 240 grams (1 cup) plain yogurt, regular or Greek-style
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract (measure with care; this is strong stuff that can ruin your cake if you overdo it)
  • 260 grams (9 ounces, about 2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F) and line a 23-cm (9-inch) round cake pan with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixer or a food processor, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.
  3. If the almond paste is fresh and feels flexible, cut it in small dice. If the package has been open for a while and the past has hardened, grate it using the large holes of a grater.
  4. Add the almond paste to the butter-sugar mixture and beat well to incorporate fully. Add the egg yolks and beat again to incorporate. Add the yogurt and almond extract, and beat again until blended.
  5. In a medium mixing-bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the batter, mixing just until blended.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, level the surface, and insert in the oven. After 30 minutes, place a piece of parchment paper over the cake to prevent it from coloring too much, and bake for another 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cake in for a final 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Lift the cake carefully out of the pan and allow to cool completely.
  8. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with blueberry coulis (recipe below) if desired.

Notes

Adapted from a recipe published in Amanda Hesser's Cooking for Mr. Latte.

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Blueberry Coulis

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 2 minutes

Total Time: 7 minutes

320 ml (1 1/4 cups)

Blueberry Coulis

Ingredients

  • 240 grams (1 1/4 cups) blueberries, thawed if frozen
  • 90 ml (6 tablespoons) water
  • 30 grams (1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons) agave syrup or maple syrup

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the blueberries, water and syrup. Bring to a simmer, cook for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let cool.
  2. Put on an apron (really, allow me to insist) and use a blender or an immersion blender to purée the mixture. Add a little more water to thin it out if necessary. Taste and decide if it needs a little sweetening, depending on what you'll serve it with.
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  • http://www.valrhonaworldwide.com/ Valrhona Chocolate Fan

    This looks really, really good. It looks somewhat dense but still moist and rich in flavor. My word, what a dream.

  • http://www.gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday

    I love cakes like this. Simple preparation, simple flavours, and simple presentation.

    I’m so over the over-the-top taste-less cake-like sculptures covered in doughy fondant.

  • http://www.dessertfortwo.com DessertForTwo

    I love damp almond cakes. I especially love when you lighten them up for us with less butter and sugar! Thanks :)

  • http://www.amateurgourmet.com Adam

    Thanks Clotilde! Your cake looks lovely and I love the idea of pairing it with blueberries. Can’t wait to cook for you again….. Best, Adam.

  • http://www.cleacuisine.fr Clea

    Cela faisait un moment que je cherchais une bonne recette de gâteau à la pâte d’amande. J’en avais testé une qui ne m’a pas convaincue (le côté pâte d’amande avait totalement disparu à l’arrivée).
    Moi aussi j’apprécie toujours à leur juste valeur les invitations “maison” chez des amis quand je voyage… ce sont des cadeaux précieux !

  • http://freshlocalandbest.blogspot.com Christine @ Fresh Local and Best

    I have to agree that almonds and blueberries go together well. I think it’s cute that you called them ‘BFFs.’ I’m glad to see a lightened recipe, it only makes it more justifiable to go back for seconds and thirds. :)

  • http://cauldronsandcrockpots.wordpress.com rebecca

    I love your blog! :)

  • http://www.spicesavant.blogspot.com Ameya

    Hi Clotilde,
    This looks so delicious and very appropriate for the summer! I also love your yogurt cake, and have improvised numerous variations of it, from orange cake to chocolate-peanut butter cake. I’ll definitely try this soon!

    P.S. Please do stop by my blog when you find some time. I would love to get your feedback! Thanks!

  • http://www.homewithmandy.com Home with Mandy

    I have not eaten anything like this and I’m so intrigued. I wouldn’t have paired the almond with blueberry, but it sounds divine. Thanks for the great recipe, sounds simple enough that even a cook (I’m not a baker) could figure it out. Great post!

  • http://sarahplusparis.blogspot.com s.

    there’s something about almond-centric baking … it’s always so delicate and refined. <3 it.

  • http://operagirlcooks.com Coco @ Opera Girl Cooks

    I just love almond cake, but I’ve never made one at home before! I like the addition of yogurt — I’ve just started making my own, and this looks like a great use for some =)

  • http://aehrelichgesagt.blogspot.com/ Daniel

    Looking at your beautiful cake makes me realize how much I wanted to make it. And skimming the ingredients list makes me realize tha I have all the ingredients in my kitchen right now. If only it wasn’t so late.

    I remember you mentioning this cake and me filing it away somewhere. When you posted the French version I was skimming it, trying to remember when you had posted the English version, certain I had missed it, but no, here it is! Thanks for keeping us on our toes!

  • http://vicsrecipes.blogspot.com Victoria

    Well, I LOVE your Piege Cake and make it all the time, especially when wonderful local strawberries are in season. I serve it with cream softly whipped with a little Mathilde Orange XO Liqueur au Cognac. It is a luscious combination.

    This may sound odd, but I have always liked coffee ice cream topped with blueberries so I am thinking a dot of coffee ice cream might go well with the almond cake and blueberries!

  • http://justmydelicious.blogspot.com/ Paula

    oh, I really like this recipe! Thanks for sharing!

    Paula

  • http://www.georgiapellegrini.com Georgia Pellegrini

    I love simple cakes like this. And the blueberry coulis seems like the perfect complement.

  • http://rumandreason.com Zoë

    Can there any be better sense of satisfaction than when those you cook for ask for thirds, particularly when they ask with pudgy baby hands stained blueberry purple?

  • http://gypsyrhapsody.wordpress.com/ GypsyRhapsody

    You’ve made my day! I love almond cake and I haven’t had one since I had Tarta de Santiago – in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. I will definitely try this recipe and most probably feature my rendition of this on my blog.

  • http://www.anentertaininglife.com Ana

    This reminds me of a Tarta de Santiago, the Spanish version of an almond cake. It’s a great idea to serve with blueberries, I’m going to try that. Great idea, Clotilde. Merci!

  • ATL Cook

    Love cakes like this. Will use Splenda for some of the sugar–almond paste is in cans here in my part of the USA. I usually just buy it at Christmas, but have added it to the grocery list.

  • m.

    Ahh, just what I’ve been craving lately — delicious almond cake! Here’s my question, though: do you think one could incorporate fresh blueberries into the cake batter somehow, or would the released juice mess things up when it cooks? Thoughts?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I don’t think I’d recommend folding the blueberries into the batter: the cake would then take a lot longer to cook (from the added moisture of the berries), and you wouldn’t get quite the same wonderful texture.

      If you’d like to make a blueberry almond cake, I can suggest you start from a yogurt cake base, use this blueberry variation (which uses, well, blueberries) and add some powdered almonds to the batter.

  • http://bilingualbutter.blogspot.com Lucie

    This looks delicious! I’ve been on an almond cake kick lately–I can’t stop baking visitandine!

  • http://www.whiskflipstir.com Heather

    That cake looks amazing. I love how it sinks in a bit in the middle. I am absolutely sure that is the best tasting part. Mmm.

  • http://kissmyspatula.com/ g @ kiss my spatula

    oh how i love almond cake!! so lovely.

  • http://anecdotesandapples.weebly.com Monet

    I have been following your blog for a while now…and your recipes and prose are always so impressive. This almond cake sounds wonderfully rich yet perfectly balanced with the slight tartness of blueberries. Thank you for sharing yet another great recipe.

  • Carol Berçot

    Clotilde, there’s no almond paste available in Brazil. Do you know if there is something that substsitutes the almond paste? Maybe powdered almonds with sugar…

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Almond paste is often made with roughly 50% almonds and 50% sugar, so if almond paste is unavailable, you could replace the 200 grams almond paste with 100 grams powdered almonds and 100 grams sugar (in addition to the sugar already listed). I’m guessing the final texture won’t be exactly the same, but the cake will be good nonetheless.

      • Leticia Zero

        Is the almond paste similar to an almond butter? ‘Cause I also don’t get almond paste available here and I was thinking of making a paste with lightly toasted almonds, same way you would make peanut butter. If I make it then blend with the sugar, as your reccommended proportion above, would the texture work better than powdered almonds + sugar?

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

          Almond paste is more like marzipan, if you see what that’s like — here’s a definition of almond paste. I wouldn’t recommend using almond butter here because when you make nut butter you draw out the oil, and I worry that it would give the cake too oily a consistency.

          The closest substitute, I think, would just be to make your own almond paste. If you look online, you’ll find lots of recipes to do that, and it’s not a very complicated process. I don’t have one recipe in particular to recommend, just make sure you use one that doesn’t call for eggs. Hope that helps!

  • Griffin

    I’d love to make this for a friend/fiend of mine, but she’s gluten-allergic. Is there an alternative to avoid the gluten?

    Only if not… I’d just have to make it for myself… which would very nearly be a shame – very, very nearly! ;)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I’m not an expert in converting recipes to gluten-free so I’m afraid my help is going to be limited here, but there are a lot of tips on gluten-free baking out there (such as this forum entry) that you could apply to this recipe.

      I believe you can also find ready-made gluten-free flour mixes at natural food stores that are formulated to replace wheat flour without too much headache. Perhaps that’s an easier option? In any case, let us know how your version turns out!

    • http://www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com Amy @ Simply Sugar & Gluten Free

      I don’t know what flours you have access to, but for me 1 cup sorghum flour, 1 cup garbanzo-fava flour, 1/2 cup potato starch, and 1/4 cup tapioca starch works beautifully for a 1 to 1 substitution. I use Bob’s Red Mill.

      I *love* that you care enough to try to make something out of your comfort zone for your friend. :) It always makes me feel special when someone does that for me.

  • http://blog.verte-adelie.com Adélie

    Since you first tweeted about that recipe, I promised myself to try it once (even bought some almond paste but finally used it for something else :)).

  • Griffin

    Thanks Clotilde, I’ll try both and see what happens!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Great, and don’t miss Amy’s helpful reply to your comment just above. Happy gluten-free baking!

  • http://enchantedfig.blogspot.com/ Amanda at Enchanted Fig

    This sounds glorious. I made a similar cake with just the almond flour and with the blueberries inside, but I am eager to try this version!

  • http://www.southernfriedfrench.com Lynn McBride

    I’ve been longing for a recipe like this, since I lost a fabulous almond cake recipe I used to make, which disappeared into the void of my bulging recipe folder. Merci, Clotilde
    (PS. A good day for me to visit your site, since I happen to be cooking with chocolate ce soir (gateau) and zucchini (tian, with gruyere).

  • http://fotografiafoodie.blogspot.com/ fotographiafoodie

    Almond? Coulis? What could be better! Or more lovely to bring to a party than a standard lemon poppyseed or chocolate cake.

  • http://theunemployedlibrarian.blogspot.com Elizabeth L.

    Thanks for this great recipe! I made it this weekend and served it with a raspberry sauce which was delicious! My only concern was that it was slightly overdone. I baked it exactly according to your recipe, but I think I should have turned off the oven 3-5 minutes earlier. Despite that, it had a wonderful flavor and I will be making it again!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for reporting back, Elizabeth!

      In what way did you find it to be overdone: did it color too much, or was it a little drier than you would have liked? The original recipe has you bake the cake for a full hour (without covering) and that would have been way too much in my oven!

  • http://coloredgrains.wordpress.com Kausambi (ColoredGrains)

    Oh amazing! Am gonna try it out sometime..

    -Kausambi

  • Pam @ Best cookware guide

    Thanks for sharing the recipe and story. I also like home cooked meal when I am traveling, this looks yummy enough to share and enjoy. I have not yet tried almond and blueberry combination so this will be first one for me, as it looks yummy.

  • Stefanie

    I have tried the recipe and my entire family loved it. The cake was gone within the next day. Luckily, I had found some French “pâte d’amande” in my pantry from my last holidays in France, “Marzipan-Rohmasse” I get here in Germany seems to be slightly different. The recipe is now in my binder.

  • http://www.theinternetchef.biz Bridget

    Looks amazing!! Thank you for sharing!!

    Bridget

  • http://cookbookapprentice.wordpress.com The Cookbook Apprentice

    This looks super duper yummy and like a must try!

  • http://obsidiantheatre.blogspot.com/ Philip Akin

    I made this recipe and it was a huge hit. However I have to say that for me even the 1 cup of sugar made it just a bit too sweet. And that is strange since I do have a sweet tooth.
    So while I will make this again I’m thinking that it will only be 3/4 or even 1/2 a cup of sugar.

    Philip

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I agree it is still on the sweet side, even with my modification. Will you let us know how you like it with 3/4 or 1/2 cup?

  • Philip Akin

    Good afternoon Clotilde,

    So I made the Almond Cake again and went for the 1/2 cup of sugar and I believe that it was really the right choice. With the cutting back on the sweetness the subtle almond flavour came through and the blueberry coulis was an excellent balance.
    This time the cake cooked in a very different way. The first time it looked more like the picture you have and this time the cake didn’t fall as much or get as dark in colour. Even so it was moist and quite delicious.

    Philip

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thanks for reporting back, Philip, glad it turned out well!

  • Dina

    Hello Clotilde, this looks divine! Only after reading comments here & people mentioning “how can I make this gluten free?” did I actually go up to check what all the ingredients are and saw “flour” LOL I am Paleo/Primal & when I read “almond cake” I did not even think there would be flour! I probably would’ve made it entirely out of almond flour! LOL LOL LOL (I would choose maybe chestnut flour for the wheat flour here, I think it would go quite nicely….. or add spoonfuls of coconut flour until I feel it right….. but chestnut flour seems to do a nice 1:1 replacement)
    However! my question was for the almond paste & I see you’ve responded to a few: I used to make a butter-based almond paste that I would fill the tarte aux poires or the day-old croissants aux amandes…. I guess that’s not it for this cake, is it? But then you say, make your own from powdered almonds & sugar. Wouldn’t that stay grainy?! Would it really make a paste?! How strong should my blender/food processor be for this to happen?!

    Thank you Clotilde! XOXOOXOXOXOOXOXOOXOXOOX

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      I’ve never actually made almond paste myself, but I understand it does become smooth after enough mixing. The more powerful the blender, the quicker that will happen, but I think it would work with any kind. Let me know if you end up trying this!

  • Dina

    Would this recipe be acceptable for almond paste? http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Almond-Paste-15551 It has eggwhites & I don’t want the cake to start inflating as it cooks cause of the eggwhites & then it drops down like a soufflé. It’s either this, or I buy straight-out marzipan & lower the sugar in the recipe…… Thanks, Clotilde!!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Yes, that would work! Eggwhites in and of themselves wouldn’t cause the cake to rise: they would have to be beaten for that to happen, so it won’t be a problem here.

      • Dina

        thank you, yes, it makes sense :-p (for them having to be beaten)

  • NotJoking

    Wonderful, and so is the strawberry water. You must have 36 hours in every day to look after your family, create this superb blog, test recipes, write books, and make the world a happier place. More you, less sadness.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you, that means so much to me! ^^

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Thank you for your kind words, you made my day!

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