The Mexican taste often found our American desserts too sweet so this was a very popular cake at the Pie in the Sky Bakery as it is light and airy and not very sweet.
This recipe is similar to the Griestorte of the Cordon Bleu School of Cookery. It is excellent as a base for Strawberry Shortcake and an elegant gluten-free Wedding Cake.
PASTEL DE ALMENDRA
Preheat to 350′
BUT BAKE at 325′ F.
I. The Dries – Set aside:
1 3/4 c ground almonds (we like Bob’s Red Mill or grinding it ourselves in a coffee grinder)
1/2 c rice flour
1 tsp baking Powder
Combined in a plastic bag and shake well to mix. Set “The Dries” aside.
II. “The Mix”
Carefully separate the eggs and put the whites aside covered to protect them from a little splash of grease.*
3/4 c sugar
These two ingredients are “whipped to the ribbon” until white and fluffy about 10 minutes!!
Yup, 10 mins, set the timer and do something else like butter the pan. [See photo for “whipped to the ribbon”.]
1/2 c butter, Melted and cooled!
2 TBsp Almond Flavoring, (NOT imitation – we prefer “Simply Organic”.
2 tsp Vanilla
Add the melted butter, little by little and the two flavorings. Mix it well.
10 egg whites
Pinch de cream of tartar.
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c sugar
*The way we separate eggs:
We super wash our hands (or wear disposal rubber gloves) and then break each egg carefully into a cup. Then we pour the whole egg into one hand and with fingers barely spread apart, we let the whites run through into a second dish. Its fun to do it this way but you can use other methods as well.
Then save the yolks into a third cup. When we have the full 10 yolks, transfer them to a mixer bowl and start up the mixer, adding the sugar very slowly.
In another mixer bowl, completely free of grease, whip the egg whites on low with the salt and a pinch of cream of tartar. (**For Beginners: Please see specific instructions below and follow them closely.) In short, slowly bring up the speed and add the sugar slowly. Add tiny amount of sugar at first, and more as you go along.
Using a rubber spatula, fold into “The Mix” a little of the whipped whites to lighten the mix. Then alternate additions of “the Dries” with “the Whites” into the mix, in two rounds. Take good swift strokes and try to incorporate the Whites and the Dries as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Pour batter into a super-greased Bundt pan. Super greased means thickly greased with shortening. Then sprinkle sugar in and shake out and then flour sprinkled into the pan and shaken out.
(Preheat to 350′)
Bake at 325′ F.
For Bundt Cake pan 50-55 mins or more.
For flat rounds about 30-35 mins.
Test top for springiness.
Test with knife in center of the cake – should come out “clean”.
We’ve found that some Bundt pans are thick and heavy, some thin and much lighter so you have to watch the times on this and adjust to your particular pan. Keep testing the top for springiness and coming away from the sides of the pan. See photo for details.
We finished our Almond Cake with a fresh Lime glaze in Mexico but have adapted this to the easy-to-find lemons for stateside cookery. This gives the lightly sweetened cake a tangy edge that sets it off nicely.
1/2 C lemon juice
2/3 C sugar
2 tsp cornstarch or arrowroot – dissolved in 1 Tbsp of Brandy
1 TBsp Marsala or sweet wine, optional
Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan, stir to dissolve.
Next put cornstarch into small dish and add brandy to dissolve.
Add sweet wine to the brandy mix if you are using it.
Warm the lemon juice and sugar over medium heat.
When it starts to boil, turn the flame down and slowly add the cornstarch mixture – while stirring constantly.
When completely mixed, simmer over low flame for 5 mins stirring constantly and then remove from heat. It will thicken as it cools.
Use a pastry brush to generously ‘paint’ the cake.
Brush onto the Cake while still warm – when possible.
When sealed with glaze, this Cake keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a week or more.
It only gets more moist as it ages.
**For whipping up the egg whites, the best is to have the egg whites at room temperature. We throw the cream of tartar and the salt into the just separated whites and set aside while we tend to the yolks at the beginning of the recipe.
In another mixer bowl, free of grease, whip the egg whites on low with the salt and a pinch of cream of tartar. Slowly bring up the speed and add the sugar slowly. Add tiny amounts of sugar at first, and more as you go along. Very important! Do not over whip as the whites become dry and do not incorporate as well.