This buttery cornmeal cake contains more than a half-pound of toasted almonds, giving it an excellent, nutty flavor. Instead of using plain whipped cream as a topping, Chef Mike Lata whips a combination of cream and mascarpone for a bit of tanginess.
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3 cups sliced blanched almonds (about 10 ounces)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup fresh mascarpone cheese
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 quart strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/4 inch thick
How to Make It
Step 1 Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan. Spread the almonds on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, stirring once, until golden. Let cool completely, then transfer the almonds to a food processor and process until finely ground but not pasty.
Step 2 Make the cake
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat the butter with the sugar and vanilla, scraping down the bowl, until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, 1 at time, beating well between additions. Scrape down the bowl and beat the batter until fluffy, 1 minute. Beat in the lemon zest and juice. With a rubber spatula, fold the flour mixture into the batter, then the cornmeal and the ground almonds.
Step 3 Make the cake
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the cake to a wire rack, still in the pan, and let cool to room temperature.
Step 4 Make the topping
In a large stainless steel bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the mascarpone and confectioners’ sugar and whip until barely firm peaks form.
Step 5 Make the topping
Run a thin knife around the side of the cake pan and invert the cake onto the wire rack. Place a plate on top of the cake and turn the cake right side up. Cut the cake into wedges and serve with the mascarpone cream and strawberries.
The cake can be kept at room temperature overnight.
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