Belinda Leong doesn’t intentionally make virtuous desserts, but this cake just happens to be gluten-free. It has a remarkable, light texture and an intense almond flavor. Leong suggests using a high-quality almond paste that’s at least 66 percent almond. “The cheaper stuff tastes fake,” she says.
Slideshow:More Gluten-Free Desserts
Recipe from Food & Wine America's Greatest New Cooks
9 ounces pure almond paste
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup sliced almonds
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, for serving
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray an 8-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste with 1 of the eggs until smooth. Add the remaining egg and beat until thick and pale, about 5 minutes. Add the melted butter, cornstarch and baking powder and beat until incorporated. Scrape the almond mixture into a large bowl.
In another large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until opaque and foamy. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar at high speed and continue beating until medium-stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes longer.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the almond mixture until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the sliced almonds on top. Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until lightly browned and firm. Let cool completely.
Unmold the cake and peel off the parchment paper. Transfer the cake to a serving platter, right side up. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream.
The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Citrusy, nutty Italian dessert wine: 2008 Sartarelli Passito
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