Our visits to the Western Headquarters of the Circle B Kitchen invariable include an occasion in which my sister-in-law, Susan, makes this cake for everyone. She slices it into thin little slivers and leaves it out on the counter, making it easy to grab a slice at will. Yes, I will, thank you. It's incredibly hard to resist, addictive, and so delicious in its simplicity.
And yes, it's a cake. In pie form. Didn't I just make a cake that eats like a pie? Well, let it be said that we are not afraid to challenge conformity around here. But this cake... so moist, so lovely and just so good. I don't think I've mentioned how easy it is to make... one bowl, one and done.
For maximum almond flavor, the recipe calls for the addition of almond extract, an ingredient that I have never been able to make peace with in this life. I love almonds... sliced, slivered, roasted, however and whenever. But not marzipan and never almond extract. Except in this cake. So when I went to make this last week, it came as no surprise that there was no almond extract in my pantry. What to do.
The question of how I was going to infuse this cake with the appropriate amount of almond flavor arrived to me in the form of almond meal, which I used in place of some of the A-P flour in the recipe. And the rest is history. It's unimaginable to think that this cake could have possibly gotten any better, but we absolutely loved it.
I have since bought myself some almond extract and may have a hard time deciding which version to make next time. Maybe I'll just use both the extract AND the almond flour. The original version without my changes is so very good. But I've noted my swap outs in the recipe below, and just to be clear...there's no wrong choice. Here's the recipe...
P.S. Just heard from Susan and this recipe has traveled through many hands, but she traced it back to a Swedish Visiting Cake from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook, "Baking: From My Home to Yours".
Susan's Almond Cake
I've noted the changes I made to the recipe below. Feel free to create the version that makes you happiest. And just one caveat... do not under any circumstances bake this any longer than 30 minutes. If you're at all against the 30 minute cooking time, then bake it for 29 minutes. Under-done is muchly preferable here.
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract (I left this out and added a little more vanilla)
1 cup flour (I subbed in 1/2 cup of almond flour for half of the A-P flour)
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup sliced almonds
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-inch pie dish
In a medium bowl whisk together the sugar and the eggs until light and fluffy. Stir in the melted butter, vanilla and almond extract and then fold the flour and salt into the batter (for even distribution, sprinkle the salt lightly over the flour in the bowl).
Place in the prepared pie dish, sprinkle with the sliced almonds and place the dish on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is just starting to brown around the edges. Do not overcook as part of its charm is the dense, moist texture. Best to err on the side of under rather than over-cooking. I often take it out of the oven at 27 or 28 minutes.
Let cool briefly before slicing and serving.