Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Almond-Lemon Tea Cake

Ta da!  Here's the cake.  It's the second time The Baker has made the recipe.  There are many, many recipes for lemon tea cake out there.  I've baked more than a few.  This, however, was the best I've ever tasted so I asked him to bake another one for the birthday gathering.  Alas, it stuck to the pan.  We've both tried to figure out what happened.  Personally, I think he may have been distracted and didn't properly butter and flour the bottom of the pan.  We'll never know for sure what happened because the evidence has been destroyed every last delicious crumb has been consumed.

The delicious glaze is a little unusual in that the juices and sugar are not heated and are stirred together just as you take the cake from the oven.  In turn, the cake needs to be warm when you brush the glaze over.  This gives a pretty crystalized finish to the cake.

Lemon-Almond Tea Cake from Tartine

3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
5 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup of almond paste
1 cup sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into tbsp-sized pieces
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp grated orange zest

1.  Position the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter and flour a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
2.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  
3.  In a bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla and whisk together just to combine.
4.  Place the almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on low just to break up the paste.  This can take up to a minute using the paddle attachment.  Slowly add the sugar, beating until well incorporated.  If you add the sugar too quickly, the paste will not break up as well.
5.  Add the butter, one tbsp at a time until all is incorporated.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy--3 to 4 minutes.  
6.  With the mixer still on medium speed, add the eggs in a slow and steady stream until incorporated. Again, scrape down the bowl, turn the mixer to medium speed for another minute.  
Stir in the zests.
7.  Finally, add the flour mixture in two batches, stirring after each addition until incorporated.
8.  Spoon into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
9.  Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tested comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack for 7 to 10 minutes while preparing the glaze.

Citrus Glaze

3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp orange juice
3/4 cup sugar

1.  Stir all together in a small bowl just before taking the cake from the oven.
2.  Place the cake on a wire rack, cool in the pan for five minutes, remove from the pan and immediately brush the room temperature glaze onto the hot cake.
3.  Allow to cool completely before carefully moving to a serving plate.