Almond cake is one of those desserts that seems rather plain and unassuming and then blows you away with how delicious it is. The cake couldn’t be simpler to make and only includes a handful of ingredients. But the finished result is both rich and elegant.
For the Almond Cakes:
- 12 oz Almond Paste
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 12 tbsp (6oz) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces and chilled
- 3 tbsp honey
- 5 large eggs
- 3 tbsp Amaretto (plus more for brushing over the cakes)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp table salt (1 1/4 kosher salt)
- 3/4 cup sliced almonds
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling over the tops of the cakes
For the Cranberry Sauce:
- 12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 – 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
Make the Almond Cakes:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour six 4-inch springform pans.
- Add the almond paste and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low to blend in the sugar and break up the almond paste without pieces flying around your kitchen. Then, beat on medium-high for 2 minutes.
- Add the butter and beat on medium-high for 4-5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. The mixture should look light and airy. This long beating time will ensure that the cakes are light in texture, not dense.
- Beat in the honey to incorporate then add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl and beating until each one is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next.
- Add the amaretto, flour, and salt and beat on low just long enough to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Divide the batter between all six prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Place the pans on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the tops of the cakes are golden brown and spring back when touched.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in their pans.
- Put the almonds in a skillet set over medium high heat. Toast the almonds, stirring constantly, until most of them are a rich golden brown. Dump the almonds onto a plate to cool.
- To serve: Release the sides of the pans and remove the cakes to individual plates or a serving dish. Brush the tops of each cake with Amaretto. (I like to use quite a bit of Amaretto, brushing it on until the tops of the cakes won’t absorb any more.)
- If you are slicing the cakes into pieces, do that now before topping with almonds. Sprinkle the tops of the cakes with a layer of toasted almonds and dust with powdered sugar.
- Serve as is, or with dollops of cranberry sauce. The cakes will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Make the Cranberry Sauce:
- Add all but 1/2 cup of the cranberries to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Add 1 cup sugar, orange zest and lemon juice to the pan.
- Cook over medium-low high heat, stirring frequently, until the cranberries are soft and all the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until the cranberries burst – about 8 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries. Taste and add up to 1 cup more sugar depending on how sweet you like your cranberry sauce. (I like my cranberry sauce tart, so usually don’t add any additional sugar. But, taste and adjust it to your personal liking.)
- Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle in a bit of salt and pepper, tasting until you get the amount that tastes right to you.
- Allow the cranberry sauce to cool to room temperature and then store in a jar or other airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Keywords: almond cake, small cake, mini cake, individual portion size, Christmas dessert, cranberry sauce, holiday recipe