Summary: This is a really yummy, not too sweet, unique cake from the June 2012 issue of Food & Wine. I've made several small tweaks, which I note below. Cook time: 24-25 minutes.
Yield: 1 cake (8-10 servings)
- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and then cooled, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 cup unsalted, raw almonds
- 1⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup instant polenta
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon minced rosemary (I used fresh; you couldn't really taste it, so add more if you want to)
- finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temp
- 1 cup + ½ teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup crème fraîche, divided
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided
- ½ cup powdered sugar
Make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit, and grease an 11" springform pan. If you, like I, only have a 9" springform pan, grease it and another very small Pyrex dish or mini-pan.
Spread the almonds on a rimmed baking sheet, and cook until slightly fragrant, 4-5 minutes. Let cool completely, and then blitz in a food processor with ½ teaspoon sugar until they are finely ground but not pasty. The sugar will help avoid the pasty-factor!
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together then almond meal, flour, polenta, baking powder, rosemary, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and ½ cup sugar and beat at medium-high speed until it's tripled in volume, 7-10 minutes.
Turn the speed down to low, and with the motor running, add ¾ cup crème fraîche, and then drizzle in the melted and cooled butter until just combined.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold this egg mixture into the dry mixture in 3 batches. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 24-25 minutes.
While the cake is cooking, make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the water, remaining ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool.
When ready, remove the cake from the oven and set it (in its pan) on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour the syrup evenly over it and then let it sit until cool. Remove the side and bottom of the pan and transfer the cake to a platter.
Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together then powdered sugar, remaining ¼ cup of crème fraîche and remaining tablespoon of lemon juice until smooth. Spread the glaze all over the cake and then let it sit a few minutes, until the glaze sets a bit.
I topped mine with fresh strawberries.