For me, this is the definitive cake to have with coffee or tea. It is all at once tender, moist and crunchy. It will keep well for several days in a cool part of the kitchen. Some people like a dollop of lightly sweetened mascarpone on the side, although I think it's perfect on its own.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 heaped cup ground almonds
- 1/4 cup cooled espresso or strong black coffee
- 2/3 cup self-rising flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a deep 8-inch-diameter cake pan with a removable bottom. For the crunch topping, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the almond extract and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds, followed by half the espresso. Sift in the flour and baking powder together and fold this through the mixture. Finally, fold in the remaining espresso.
Spread the batter in the cake pan and level with a spatula. Bake for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the crunch topping evenly over the top, then continue baking until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before unmolding onto a wire rack. Peel away the parchment. When completely cooled, dust with confectioners' sugar, then cut into slices to serve.
Tip: Missing first amount of flour, and how much sugar to mix with it for the crunchy topping, and how much of the remaining sugar to mix into the batter.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Harper Collins. All rights reserved.
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