Recipes

Almond paste flavors a rich cake

Michael’s on Naples torta di mandorle (almond cake) can be made ahead of time, then plated and garnished before serving.
Michael’s on Naples torta di mandorle (almond cake) can be made ahead of time, then plated and garnished before serving. Los Angeles Times

Michael’s on Naples in Long Beach makes what reader Paula Gates declares “the most delicious torta di mandorle … rich, moist and just fabulous.” The desserts can be made ahead of time, then plated and garnished before serving.

Michael’s on Naples torta di mandorle (almond cake)

Total time: 1 hour, plus cooling time

Serves 12

INGREDIENTS

For rosemary syrup:

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of water

1 sprig of rosemary

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

For the almond cakes:

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

2 tablespoons almond paste

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

6 eggs

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 2/3 ounces) flour

For the glaze:

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 to 5 tablespoons whole milk

For serving:

Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

Make the rosemary syrup: In a small saucepan, simmer together the sugar, water and rosemary for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

In a separate saucepan, blanch the basil in boiling water until brightly colored, about 10 seconds. Strain the leaves and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to cool, then drain, squeezing out any excess water.

In a blender, combine the simple syrup and basil leaves and purée together. Strain through cheesecloth to remove any solids. This makes about 1/2 cup syrup, which will keep for up to 2 weeks, covered and refrigerated.

Make the cake: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 (3-ounce) ramekins.

Cream together the butter, almond paste and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the extract, then add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated. Fold in the sifted flour.

Divide the mixture among the ramekins, filling each two-thirds full.

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet (this may need to be done in batches), and bake until the cakes are set and a knife or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool the cakes, still in the ramekins, on a rack.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, whisk together the sugar, extract and milk to form a glaze. This makes a generous 1 cup glaze.

To serve: Remove the cakes from the ramekins and top each cake with a little glaze and a sprinkling of toasted sliced almonds. Place each cake on a serving plate and garnish with the rosemary syrup.

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