Remember those 17 flourless/Passover-friendly desserts? Did you wonder why one would make a list that numbered, say, 17 and not some easily identifiable round number such as 20? I mean, once you’ve gotten to 17, are those last three so difficult, so clearly going to push a blogger over the edge that it simply cannot be done? No, you don’t think about this? Well, lucky you.
But the list was indeed 20 to begin with, but I nixed* three because although they had very little flour in them and the odds were that it could be replaced with matzo meal with little melodrama, I didn’t want to wing it and accidentally ruin every one of your seders with my misplaced confidence. (So much for saving us all some melodrama.) Yet I’ve been staring down the Gâteau aux Amandes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook for months now–a fairly simple cake with what I hoped would be a very intense almond flavor.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve got some marzipan junkies in our family, so I like to use seeing them as an excuse to try out desserts like this, and it did not disappoint. If you like almonds/marzipan/almond paste/amaretto, you’re going to love this cake.
However, yours will in all likelihood look better than ours did: less dense (because you’ll be using flour) and taller (because you’ll not realize at the very last moment that you left your 8-inch cake pan at a friends several months ago during a flan flop and used a 9-inch pan instead). But even if it doesn’t, I think you’ll fall in love: the cake is intensely flavored but remarkably simple–six ingredients and some decoration on top.
The strawberry-rhubarb compote is fantastic; easy to make and a perfect balance to the sweetness of the almond paste base. You’ll have a bit of extra, perfect for cottage cheese, ice cream, pound or angel food cake, or, you know, your spoon. Oh come on, you know you’re gonna.
* See honey? NIXED. You see, last night I attempted to overcome a Scrabulous game of all-vowels, all-the-time against Alex who was been on a rare three-bingos-per-game winning streak with the word NIX over a well-placed triple letter score and do you know what Alex said? “Nix? What kind of word is that? You never use that word.” And I said “only all the time.” So there you go. And no, in case you were worried, we do not, like, sit on the sofa next to each other with a laptop on each of our laps playing Scrabulous with each other. Of COURSE not. That would be lame.
** The other two desserts I was going to bring to your might-be-able-to-swap-the-flour-with-matzo-meal attention were the Hazelnut Brown Butter Cake from last month (with only 1/3 cup of flour) that I am thrilled to learn that someone Kosher-ed with success and this Lemon-Strawberry Roll Cake (with only 1/4 cup of flour and cornstarch that can be seamlessly swapped with potato starch).
Almond Cake with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote [Gâteau aux Amandes]
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon (via Leite’s Culinaria)
For the compote
1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
1 pound rhubarb, trimmed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
For the almond cake
Butter and flour for the pan(s)
7 ounces almond paste
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 ounces unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
2 tablespoons honey
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons amaretto, plus additional for brushing
1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted (we used matzo meal with success, though finely grinding it first would have been a better idea)
1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3/4 cup crème fraîche, whipped to soft peaks
Make the compote
1. Select about 4 ounces of the smallest strawberries and cut lengthwise into quarters. These will be added raw to the cooked compote; set aside.
2. Cut the remaining larger berries in halves or quarters so that the pieces are about the same size. (You should have about 2 1/2 cups.) Place them in a medium saucepan.
3. With a paring knife, pull away and discard the strings that run the length of the rhubarb stalks. Cut the stalks into 3/4-inch pieces (you should have about 3 cups) and add to the saucepan.
4. Use a fine grater or a Microplane to zest the lemon. Add 1 teaspoon of the zest to the pan. Squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice and add it to the pan. Add the sugar and stir to coat the fruit.
5. Place the pan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. By the time the sugar has dissolved, the fruit will have released a lot of juice. Boil for about 4 minutes to reduce the liquid somewhat, then reduce the heat and simmer for another 2 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft. Don’t worry if some of the rhubarb falls apart.
6. Take pan off the stove and stir in reserved strawberries. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in a covered container until cold. (This makes about 4 cups of compote, but the extra will keep for a couple of weeks and is delicious for breakfast, especially with crème fraîche.)
Make the cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and flour four 4-by-1 3/4-inch-high miniature springform pans or butter and flour the bottom and sides of an 8-inch round cake pan. If using the 8-inch pan, line its bottom with a circle of parchment paper; this isn’t necessary with the small pans.
2. Place the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a handheld mixer. Begin to cream the mixture on low speed to break up the almond paste, then increase the speed to medium for about 2 minutes, or until the paste is broken into fine particles.
3. Add the butter and mix for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and airy; stop the machine and scrape down the sides as necessary. It is important to mix long enough or the cake will have a dense texture.
4. Mix in the honey, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the amaretto, flour, and a pinch of salt and mix just to combine.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and smooth the top. Bake the small cakes for about 15 minutes, the large one for about 25 minutes, or until the cake is golden and springs back when pressed. Transfer to a rack to cool.
6. Unmold the small cakes or invert the large cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and invert the cake again so that the top is once again facing upward. Brush the top of the cake(s) with amaretto and sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. (The large and small cakes can be stored, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 2 days.) To serve, cut the small cakes in half or the large cake into wedges. Serve with a dollop of whipped crème fraîche and the strawberry-rhubarb compote.
144 comments on almond cake with strawberry-rhubarb compote
Almonds are way underrated by the majority of the population. Good, more for me!!!! Can’t wait to try this.
Oh, I love almond cake. Absolutely delicious looking, and the amaretto addition is incredible. I’ve never baked with rhubarb, but I do enjoy strawberry rhubarb pie, I must try this!
– The Peanut Butter Boy
rhubarb just made it’s first appearance of the season in my grocery store — i’m so excited to try it! i had been planning to make a sorbet of some sort, but this looks even better!
I just went through 2 lbs of almond paste last week, but must give this a try. For some reason I keep missing the rhubarb at the store. Always had baked rhubarb and can’t wait to make this. So glad you had one more dessert to add to the list.
the compote sounds amazing. i’m still dying to make that rhubarb coffee cake you made a little while ago. i haven’t been able to get rhubarb yet. and the cake looks great, too … I’m a sucker for anything almondy
Do you think this could be made without the amaretto for a less intensely-flavoured cake? Maybe replacing it with spiced rum or vanilla extract?
what a wonderful dessert! love the almonds on top. i have never baked anything with rhubarb before, but this looks like a wonderful way to try it.
This cake looks really wonderful! I’m wondering if you could use almond flour instead of the matzoh meal?
“Nix” is totally fair game! If you ask him, my husband will rattle off the acceptable two-letter words, because he is cool like that. Have you read “Word Freak” by Stefan Fatsis? It’s about competitive Scrabble, and it is fascinating.
My mom makes something nearly identical to that cake, and it’s one of my favorites–I’m a fan of cake over frosting, as a rule, and like things that I can consume for breakfast the next day! I laughed when I read your description, though, because the first time I made it myself I didn’t realize my cake pan was also a bit bigger than called for, so it was a very, very thin–though tasty–confection.
This looks simply divine. And with creme fraiche. Oh Mama.
I just hit the jackpot. My husband asked me to make a rhubarb pie, but this will be better, he LOVES almond sweets. Thanks!
Oh my that cake looks beautiful…I love finding new rhubarb recipes. Oh, and as a recent convert to Scrabulous, I can inform you that according to the robot, “wud” is actually a word (though no dictionary would give me a definition) and is quite handy if you are in a tight spot…
Yep, that totally works in my book. I make a flourless orange and almond cake, and I’m thinking your compote would go just as well with that.
This looks absolutely scrumptious. I just visited the farm where my CSA subscribes and saw the freshly picked rhubarb. When it comes in my veggie box -starting May 12- I’ll make this first!
Thanks for posting a Passover friendly recipe. I’ve been posting healthy Passover recipes on my blog this week because I used to get sick by the third day growing up. Now I know it’s because all I ate was processed food during the holiday! No more. I love cooking with fresh vegetables and fruit. I’m not even missing the bread this week.
For some reason, I’m always nervous about rhubarb – is it because I always think it will be tart/sour perhaps? Is this a sweet cake or more savory/citrusy/zesty? It looks so moist and divine – I’m tempted to try it and throw my notions to the wind…
I think you’ll find it a wonderful tart-sweet, and much more on the sweet side due to the addition of strawberries and sugar. But I’m a little biased…
I need to have more dinner parties and potlucks in my life so I have more reasons to cook everything I’ve got bookmarked. Now this almond paste strawberry rhubarb fantasy delight is on the list too. And you, well, you just keep me adding to my list. I think we really need a spring foodbloggers potluck sometime soon. Of course, the last one I went to I brought four dishes because I couldn’t decide what to make.
See, now this is the perfect thing to bring to Darren Fresh’s Skybar. Maybe next weekend? Or some amazingly beautiful spring Sunday afternoon coming soon to a rooftop in Williamsburg! See ya!
After a certain point in ones cooking adventures, it gets harder and harder to create a first time for anything. As ridiculous as this seems, I’ve never cooked with rhubarb before. I’ve never even tasted a strawberry-rhubarb pie–so this spring, I’m dedicating myself to a cooking first–baking with rhubarb. This this sounds like a perfect first adventure to get started. Wish me luck!
I love strawberry rhubarb and this looks delicious!
I have never tried rhubarb but by the look of this I know I’d love it. What a beautiful cake, Deb!
On a note unrelated to this recipe, I went to the Bread Bar this weekend, based on your recommendation. It was fantastic. The bread was particularly good (we got rosemary naan and the “naanini”), which, in retrospect, duh, it ain’t called the Bread Bar for nothing.
My favorite part of my meal, though, was the Pomegranate Gimlet, which was the perfect balance of sweet, sour, and alcohol.
Thanks for a great recommendation!
My boyfriend and I have, ahem, played Scrabulous over the phone on occasion.
And that compote looks delicious!
I will be making this one….. :)
Bridget — How funny, I just had lunch outside there today! I was loving their new spinach/paneer dish, so much lighter than the traditional kind.
the cake she looks tasty, but the thomas keller, he intimidates me.
Still looks amazing, even if it’s dense and short.
This is one for to be bookmarked for sure! I’d like to try it in a Mary Ann cake pan.
D’OH! I bought one of those three months ago and wanted to make this cake in it and only remembered now that you brought it up. It would have been perfect. Sigh.
yum,yum……almonds and strawberry rhubarb sound like an amazing combo!
now THAT’S a lovely Passover-friendly dessert – bravo!
Oh my goodness! All your past recipes including rhubarb have inspired me to make something with it, which I’ve never done before in my life. So I picked up some rhubarb at the supermarket earlier. o= Wish me luck!
Hmm I love almond cake and with the rhubarb it sounds just lovely.
Gorgeous as always. My father loves rhubarb so I’ll be sure to make this for him.
The little wizard in Scrabulous also says that “qi” and “qis” are words, though the dictionary can’t find them…
My absolute favorite combination of ingredients! I’m eagerly awaiting my rhubarb that has another 4 weeks of growing before I can cut it.
Michelle — I forgot to respond yesterday! I know that Keller’s recipes seem long and overly-detailed, but I’ve found I really like that level of attention to the nuances of making thing. Like he tells you to make sure you beat the butter for 4 to 5 minutes, and to use cold butter. I was certain it wouldn’t work, but instead I ended up with a totally gorgeous batter (I think softened butter might have been more greasy/less fluffy in this case). It was things like this that got me through the 7-yolk pasta dough without disaster too.
Oh, I am so excited! I’m not going to try it for Pesah because I don’t have any almond paste on hand right now, but the inexpensive Amish grocery in Kalona has it super-cheap and I’d been wanting to get some; just couldn’t find any recipes in my file that included it.
Duh, what’s a Mary Ann pan?
This cake looks fabulous! I was on an almond paste kick this past Christmas: pignoli, almond tart and a coffee cake with an almond paste streusel that had tasters drooling. Do you use Odense, Solo or some other brand of almond paste?
Rhubarb is something we had as children and, like mushrooms and asparagus, I vowed I wouldn’t eat as an adult. Well, mushrooms are a favorite and I eat grilled asparagus so maybe it’s time to try rhubarb again.
D’oh: A Mary Ann pan looks like this, and seems infinitely useful for single layer cakes with cool toppings.
I used Odesnse almond paste, because it was easy to find.
GAH! I think I just lost my mind out of pure joy. I love love love rhubarb. Just the idea of this sweet combination (almond cake? yes please) sent shivers of joy up and down my spine. Often I see a post and think “I want to make that” but never before have I seen a title, a photo, and found myself already with grocery list in hand. WooHOO!
This recipe sounds heavenly and the cake looks lovely. I’m all over it. Thanks :)
Okay, let me tell you!!! First I made the strawberry/rhubarb compote. It was so yummy, I tried it with natural bean vanilla ice cream cuz it was too late at nite to make the cake. It was so good, I ate all the compote. So tonite I made the whole recipe WITH cake!!!! It is absolutely outragously deeee-licious!!!!! All my favorite stuff, strawberries, rhubarb, yumm, then my absolute fave almonds and almond paste, the icing on the cake is the Amaretto. THIS IS TRULY A WINNER. Can’t wait to try it on my friends, b/c this one’s not leaving my house. Thank you so very much for sharing.
Thanks for the reminder on this post (one year ago!). THIS is what I need to make!!!! We’re all fan of marzipan / almonds in the family, but me in particular, so the title alone make me mouth watering!
This cakes looks delicious! Unfortunately they don’t sell Almond Paste in the UK. I can buy ground almonds or marzipan. Does any one have any idea as to how I can adapt this receipe? I think marzipan has more sugar than almond paste – could I remove the rest of the sugar from the receipe to balance or will this upset the chemistry of the cake?
Liz – I always thought almond paste was marzipan :S uhoh…
I want to make this cake for mother’s day but will need to make it one day ahead, should I do the amaretto, almonds & powdered sugar before I wrap it or when I’m going to serve it?
I’d do the almonds and powdered sugar before you serve it.
Thanks, it turned out fantastic! Everyone loved it and it was devoured!
Um wait…sitting by your boyfriend while the Scrabulous (cough, Lexulous, whatever) battle rages is lame? What about if he’s in the living room and you’re in the bedroom? Maybe that makes it lameless…I can always hope. Off to try this with the cranberry syrup.
Deb, A little late on the uptake here (I followed this post from the cranberry syrup one) but there is really fine matzo meal called matzo cake meal that would suit this recipe perfectly. It is almost the consistency of whole-wheat flour.
the cake was delicious – i’ve saved the extra 1 oz of almond paste, as i couldn’t bear to throw out such deliciousness.
but, re: step #2 – my almond paste and sugar never broke down into ‘fine particles’ even after 10 minutes of beating with a paddle in the kitchen aid (poor, sad, abused paste). but – i continued and the cake did not seem any worse for the wear.
i suppose this could be because all i had was baker’s sugar (read: i was too lazy to go downstairs and hunt on the pantry shelf) and the crystals aren’t as large/sharp as in regular sugar?
I made this twice. Using the butter cup into little pieces and chilled. This is counterintuitive, because the recipe then call for the batter to be beaten until light.
I used a KitchedAid stand mixer for 7-8 minutes and the batter did not lighten.
I will make it again, bringing the butter and eggs to room temperature as these things are usually done.
The cakes were more pudding than cake, but certainly delicious. Someone suggested using almond flour, and this I will do.
I had trouble with this too … the almond paste just would not break up, except into big chunks. My second-try cake (with chunks but less paste overall) is at home now, done. I’m nervous about trying it.
I LOVE ALMOND PASTE AND AMARETTO – and I am going to make this lovely cake soon – however I am trying to reduce the butter I consume- do you think olive oil or canola oil would do? or should I use a mixture of oil and butter?
I appologize for the silly sounding question, but – what is almond paste? Is it the same as marzipan?
Yael — It almost exactly the same but marizpan has slightly more sugar in it and some “stuff” that makes it moldable (for those marzipan shapes you might see sometimes). In a pinch, you can swap them in a recipe like this.
Does anyone know if the flour should be sifted before measuring 1/3 cup or after? I think it makes a difference in amount if its sifted before or after…
You measure and then sift. For future reference (hope this helps) when it says “flour, sifted” = measure, then sift. When a recipe says “sifted flour” = sift, then measure.
I made this cake today and it turned out wonderful! I served it with the cranberry syrup! Thanks so much for the recipe and easy to follow instructions. I had trouble with my almond paste- I used a big mixing bowl and a hand held mixer- it splattered EVERYWHERE and did not break up at all. I had to throw it away and start again. Same problem, this time I did not want the mess, so I threw in the chilled butter and mixed away and everything turned out great- great texture and everything. I wonder why my almond paste didn’t break up? Thanks, as always, I love your site =)
I just made this cake and it is delicious!
The almond paste at the local supermarket was $10 for 7oz. No joke. So I substituted a combination of ground almonds, confectioner’s sugar and egg white (pretty much like marzipan) for the almond paste, and it worked out fine.
The one thing that I would do differently next time is to make this cake in a springform pan or a pan with a removable bottom. The top came out sticky instead of crisp, so it stuck to the first rack, causing great ugliness (and an excuse to eat the delicious crumbs). I’m serving it with a sort of fruit ‘salsa’ and whipped cream.
I made this yesterday for our seder, and was told in no uncertain terms that it best be on the table next year as well! I used matzoh cake meal in place of the flour, and dusted the pan with cake meal as well. I had no problems with it sticking to the pan at all. I inverted it onto a sheet of parchment so the top did not stick to the rack. Amazing!
I made this a few nights ago – it was fantastic! I had no problems with blending the batter (cut the almond paste up with a knife first) or getting it out of the pan (used the parchment paper). Served it with the compote and made a créme fraiche ice cream. It’s a lovely looking cake. Great recipe! (pics at http://esom.us/?p=1552 )
I made this cake today and it was w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l! The rhubarb-strawberry compote was perfectly tart and the cake was pleasantly moist. Another winner!
I used this recipe to make maid-of-honors. The dessert is a tradition on the English side of my family, and due to a nostalgic craving, I made them on a whim. They are similar to bakewell tarts, except that they are cupcake-size, made with cake batter, and frosted.
Quite needless to say, trying out the almond cake went AWESOME. The cake was so moist and thick and wonderful! I brought these to work and shoved a few down my boyfriend’s throat. Most reactions involved extensive expletive usage.
I made this cake today, and was very pleased! I love marzipan and almonds, and this recipe showcased both beautifully. I posted some pictures and comments here if you are curious. http://freethoseradicals.blogspot.com/2010/05/almond-cake-and-fruit-compote.html
I’m thinking about making it again and taking it to work…
I made this cake last weekend and it was absolutely delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe and millions more. I did not have amaretto and wanted to avoid vanilla (since I thought it would be a mismatch). I added saffron instead and brushed the cake with saffron threads dissolved in milk. That put it over the top!
This looks amazing. I noticed that someone else noted the fact that almonds are underrated… So true. I’m an Amaretto drinker myself so I know just how good they are. I shall certainly be giving this cake a go this weekend. Hopefully that’ll put me in the girlfriend’s good books!
True to my word I tried to make this and it was fantastic!
Thanks again for sharing!
I baked this into 12 muffin-sized mini cakes. They were absolutely delicious, and sooo easy to make! thanks so much for sharing this.
i also had the sugar-coated almond paste chunks flying all over the place at first, but things calmed down as soon as i added butter – next time i will just cut up the paste and add butter @ step 1 :)
So here is a question: I need to make an almond bundt cake for an upcoming wedding. Would this recipe work in a bundt cake pan, or are there other elements that need to be taken into consideration?
I don’t think this is the right cake; it doesn’t have enough rise for a bundt pan, I suspect. You might start with this layer cake and see if it works in a bundt.
This cake sounds perfect for Passover ! I’d like to bake it ahead of time and freeze it so I will feel secure that dessert is already done.
Of course I wouldn’t freeze the compote. . .
Have you tried freezing this cake ? If not, do you think it would freeze well ?
Thanks so much for this beautiful site .
P.S. King Arthur flour has almond paste on their website or by mailorder.
Like Rochelle, I want to make this cake in advance for Passover and wonder if it can be frozen. When my husband saw the photo of the cake, his comment was, “Why not make two cakes – one now for eating immediately and one for testing in the freezer?” I’ll negotiate that he take me out for dinner (restaurant of my choice) if he wants me to make two cakes. I’d rather just get your answer about freezing. Eagerly waiting….
I see no reason not to make and then freeze the cake in advance.
Made this today, and it was a huge hit at the cook out I took it to!! Rhubarb was unable to be found, so I topped it with fresh strawberries and blackberries- worked well with the cake and with the beautiful spring weather. Also, due to ridiculous liquor laws on Sundays in TN, I had to substitute 1 tsp vanilla for the amaretto- can’t wait to try again with the good stuff! :) If you love intensely almond things, it’s a must try!! Thanks so much, Deb!! This site has definitely become a go-to for foolproof yumminess!!
I made this today and was a bit challenged given my antique kitchen aide hand mixer. I finally put the almond paste and sugar in the cuisinart for a less messy and more efficient mix. I must have done something wrong however, since I used a 8.5 in. cake pan and my cake is about 3/4 in. high. I’m anticipating it will be a bit dense. Will save the taste review for tomorrow – although I already know the compote is amazing!
Marzipan is my weakness. My husband demands rhubarb for his early June birthday. This recipe will make all of us very happy. Thanks, Deb!
Hi, Deb: I have been reading, loving, and making some mighty delicious food from your site for sometime now. One question about making this cake: at what point in the temperature continuum does one brush on the Amaretto? Is the cake hot? Cooling? Completely cool? I’ve already read further up that one should hold off on the almonds and confectioners sugar until ready to serve.
And my entire family loves, loves, loves your pics of Jake.
Warm or cool. Either will work. Glad you’re enjoying the site!
This is the most perfect and best almond cake I have ever had. I wasn’t sure if it was going to come out right because I’ve been winging all my measurements because Australian measurements are different from American ones. I also accidentally bought almond icing, but it worked out well after I removed the sugar and used a little less honey. But yes, this cake is amazing! Thank you.
Thank you, Deb
I just baked this. Yummy… I only had almond meal, so made paste mixing with powder sugar and a little bit water with a food processor. Then I started to follow your direction using a stand mixer. But suddenly my mixer stop working:(( So, I continued to use a food processor. Unexpectedly this cake turned out wonderfully:))
The cake had very fine and smooth texture and moist. No amaretto, just nice honey flavor! I’m wondering if the cake turn out the same as I use a stand mixer???
I am attempting to use my processor again!
This was delicious! I made it tonight and since it’s winter I used frozen blackberries and raspberries with a little sugar and splash of lemon juice, simmered, puréed and strained. My cake rose during baking but it was only about a half inch tall when all was said and done (pretty sure my cake pan was 8″). It may have to do with the beater blade. I have the one with rubber spatula tips attached to it so it scrapes as it beats. Maybe that’s why the almond paste and sugar did not get very airy or light. No matter, though. Delish and pretty! Thanks for posting it.
Hello, Deb. Thanks again fr this blog. Go, have you changed my [baking] life!
Quick question: Is this almond cake too sweet to consider a chocolate ganache like the one you posted for the hazelnut brown butter cake (wow, i just drooled while typing those four letter together)? I am tempted by the compote, but I want to bake this cake for my brother’s birthday and his request were both almond and chocolate.
Hi Frivola — I think it would be just fine with that ganache. Delicious, even. Also, do check out this almond layer cake with chocolate frosting!
*for *I *letters
(I am truly sorry for all the typos in that previous comment.)
Now I have recipes for ich weekend, Thank you.
Gorgeous plush crumb, but Way too sweet (used the Odense brand too). Next time I’ll nix the honey. Also, I didn’t have any amaretto and missed it terribly!
Question: What exactly does the honey do for the cake? I think next time I’ll nix it.
PS- doing the ganache for the cake instead of the compote. I think it’s going to be amazing!!!
I’m new to Smitten Kitchen and was delighted to find this recipe to use up some leftover almond paste. Made 1/2 of recipe in 6 muffin tins. I lined the bottoms with cutouts of the bottoms of cupcake papers. Worked great – no stick! A nice presentation for a dinner party rather than slices.
I’d like to pass along a hint for using almond paste which I learned from Carol Walters Great Cookies cookbook (highly recommend). Shred the almond paste on a box grater (largest holes) before using. It incorporates into recipes very easily when you do this and cuts down on the mixing time.
Any suggestions for amaretto substitutions? Thanks!!!!!
You can skip it. If the issue is alcohol and you’re still looking for an almond flavor boost, you can use almond extract, but sparingly. If the issue is that you don’t like or don’t have amaretto, you can try another flavored liqueur for a change in profile.
Hi Deb, what does it mean to cream the mixture? Sorry for the lame question– love your site!
Beat it until it looks smooth and looks light and fluffy.
Hi Deb, this was exactly the kind of cake I was looking for to make this Passover. I may sub out the strawberry/rhubarb for apricots, thoughts? Also, you said you have made this with matzo meal, was the measurement the same as flour, 1/3 cup?
Samantha — I did a 1:1, yes, so 1/3 cup.
I’ve read through all the comments but can’t find the same Q/A anywhere – I don’t have access to almond paste, should I sub the same weight of ground almonds instead?
Thanks SO much!!!
Almond paste is usually almonds ground with a good amount of sugar and sometimes an egg white.
just made this.. used a bit less sugar (because i ran out) but even so — delicious, yummy and spongy!!
Just made this and it was wonderful. I never thought I would get my son to eat rhubarb, but he loved it. Thanks a million.
Just made the cake for my mom’s bday tomorrow, it smells amazing! My question is…nothing is binding the sliced almonds together or to the cake and I fear it will be a mess when I cut into it (I already put them on! Ugh! Should have waited so transporting will be tricky) but still…am considering mixing a little honey with amaretto and drizzling just a little on the top to hold the almonds together. Bad idea?!
Looks sensational, definitely one to try as strawberries are in season in Malta at the moment!
I am a huge fan of your site. Is there any way to substitute the flour for barley flour for a gluten free option?
Barley Flour Is NOT Gluten Free, but I will try Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 Gluten Free Baking Flour for the flour in this recipe
It was a Passover hit, thanks!
hi Deb! i’ve made your cake a few times now and it is one of my favorites! i’ve been searching for a recipe that uses almond paste and poppy seeds and i’m having a hard time. i’m wondering if i can try adding poppy seeds to this awesome recipe? or do you think that might ruin the perfectness of this cake?
My cooking scale broke do you know how much 7oz almond paste comes out in cups? Thanks for your help.
I don’t have a tube on hand, so I can’t check — I want to estimate roughly 1 cup, maybe a touch less. Hopefully someone else making this might weigh in.
I *just* made this, and it was fantastic. I have no idea if the consistency of the compote was right – it was pretty soupy – but it was UH-MAZING. Can’t wait to eat it with yogurt. The cake was great and so worth breaking out my Kitchenaid for. My bake time was longer than that stated, but I just kept going til it was done and it came out great!! Definitely a keeper.
Is there a particular reason that the almonds are placed on the cake after it is baked. Seems they would fall off when the cake is sliced.
Deborah — They’re more of a crunchy garnish. Of course some might fall off, but most stay right on top when you lift a slice.
Would the honey almond topping from the bee sting cake work for this? Or would it be too heavy to bake on top?
Amanda — What a delicious idea. I bet it might work. If anything, some have found the bee sting cake too soft to hold up the almond topping, so the density of this might be better. I’d love to hear how it came out, because I’d love to try the same one day.
This is fantastic! I had some leftover homemade failed marzipan (exactly the right amount!) and it worked. After cooling I coated the top with a simple raspberry sauce which provided a shiny red backdrop for the 17 almond halves I placed on top. She looks very pretty. This might be my favorite almondy cake to date! I baked this accidentally in a 9 inch pan and it was done in 20 minutes at 170c.
I’d like to make this for Passover dessert for 19. I could just triple the recipe and make three cakes… but I’d like a dressier presentation. Do you think this would work as a three-layer cake, layered with the compote right before serving, or is the texture maybe too soft for that?
I am wondering the same thing- would it be possible to layer it with the compote in between layers?
What a great idea. I think it would work. Do note: There’s a great 3-layer almond cake with a similar intensity in the archives a little better structured for layering. It has jam between the layers but you could use a jammy compote instead.
If you make the cake ahead of time should you put the amaretto on right before you serve or should I do it when it comes out of the oven still? Wasn’t sure if it would get soggy? Thanks!
I made this with meyer lemon and one bunch of rhubarb (I didn’t weigh it) and it is extremely delicious over ice cream. Will remake instantly.
I am a huge smitten kitchen and almond cake fan but this was a complete bust–Dense oily and inedible. I am going back to David Liebovitz’ almond cake recipe! The problem was definitely in the opening step. Never became light after many minutes of beating.
Has anyone tried a gluten free version of this cake? Such as substituting the all purpose flour for almond flour or a gluten free flour blend? I have a gluten free partner and want to make this for them! Any advice would be appreciated.
Nobody has commented that they have, but I bet it would work fine — a gluten-free baking flour mix, swapped by weight. Good luck.
This is my husband’s favorite cake. I usually make it by first making almond paste in my food processor (1.5 c almond flour, 1.5 c powdered sugar, 1 egg white, 1t almond extract, pinch of salt), then adding all the other ingredients into my food processor in the order from the recipe. But I didn’t have my food processor today, so instead, I just put those homemade almond paste ingredients in a mixing bowl, mixed them with a hand mixer, and then followed the rest of the instructions from the recipe. Worked great – I can’t tell a difference.
Hello! Thanks for posting this recipe- it looks delicious! I am planning to make it for Passover but I am curious what your thoughts are on two tweaks I’m considering making.
First, instead of Matzo meal, do you think I can use almond flour instead? And still 1/3 of a cup?
Second, I like the idea of a lighter cake vice a dense one, so I’m considering separating the egg whites & yolks, whipping the whites separately, then folding into the yolk/butter/sugar/almond paste mixture. (One of the comments on this cake was from someone who said they mixed the paste and butter but it never became light and airy, so I like the idea of whipping the whites almost as an insurance policy that the cake has a lighter texture, especially since regular flour won’t be used.)
You’re the pro- so I appreciate any advice! Chag sameach!
I made this, and it came out beautifully. I forgot almond paste at the store, and ended up making my own. I had the same problem with step 2 as the commenter who complained about the cake being dense and oily – the paste never broke apart into little pieces. I attributed this to something about the homemade paste, and made sure to mix for a solid 5 minutes as recommended in step 3. That did the trick. I’m guessing that commentator didnt mix it sufficiently with the butter, which Deb does warn will lead to a dense cake. Anyway, I loved it. We didn’t have amaretto, so I used frangelico. I’m sure it changed the flavor somewhat, but it still tasted very almond-y and delicious. YUM.
Not sure what I do wrong. I make this every year and I take it out and it looks very brown I leave it in for 35 minutes and the cake is raw on the bottom and middle. I always put it back in but do you have any tips?
I just made this in a stoneware pan and it needed 45 minutes to set properly. I haven’t cut into it yet, I will let you know how it turned out!
It was incredible. Looked a little brown on the top and edges, which tasted amazing, and set perfectly with the extra cooking time. highly recommended.
I have loads of frozen rhubarb. How would I adjust the recipe to use the frozen rhubarb.
It should work just fine here — might not need much adjusting.
Can this cake be baked the day before? How would you store it overnight for optimal optimal freshness? Thank you, love your recipes!
The cake can definitely be made in advance. Fridge or room temperature should be fine. I’d keep the compote off until serving and keep it in the fridge.
Thank you so much! We’ve made this cake (and so many of your recipes) again and again and absolutely love it!
How about matzo flour? Have you tried that?
I looooved this cake! I couldn’t find any rhubarb in our stores so just made the compote with only strawberries, and everyone loved it. Will make again!
I was looking for a recipe for my extra strawberries and saw this and the two strawberry cakes, and I decided I wanted almond cake but not the compote (too messy/fancy for my purposes), so I made a snacking cake with this recipe as the cake base and sliced strawberries on top! Came out delicious!
The cake was delicious, but I couldn’t distinguish the amaretto. About to make it again and am wondering about how much amaretto to brush on the cake?
I have used this recipe a few times, and it was always a success. Glutenfree versiuon by using almond flour worked as well.
Question: Does anyone know why the almond paste does not crumble and does not dissolve as described? I am cutting the paste into small cubes and start mixing at low speed, but it only turns into a smooth creamy mix once I have added the chilled butter cubes. What am I doing wrong? (The end result is always good, but the process does not seem to work as described.)
Sometimes, if it’s a bit older, it will be more firm and fights creaming. It’s totally normal that it happens.
This was fabulous! I did have to bake for 36 minutes. Also, did not have amaretto so substited rum and it was fine. Served without compote.
Very nice yummy cake recipe
Hiya – my almond paste comes in an 8 oz can… is it possible to use the entire 8 oz of almond paste, and then add an additional tablespoon of butter, and a couple additional tablespoons of flour, to compensate – or am I nuts? (no pun intended…)