Flourless Almond and Port Cake
This cake is a treat. What’s more, being flourless, it is perfect for Passover and for gluten-free eaters. This cake feels like a fluffy, smooth, tasty piece of marzipan that has turned into a cake to become a bigger, lighter and longer-lasting version of itself. It can be served as a dessert, with some whipped cream on top. If you are lucky to have some left over, it makes for a decadent breakfast with a side of berries and some hot coffee or tea. Interestingly, the recipe dates to the late 1600s. The Spanish nuns who came to Mexico to help establish different convents had an indomitable sweet tooth, which, paired with Mexico’s exotic ingredients, made for some of the country’s dearest and sweetest desserts. Centuries later, these desserts have become staples in Mexican kitchens. There are many kinds of nut cakes or tortes in Mexican cooking, some with pine nuts, pecans or hazelnuts. They can be sweetened with sugar, or in some cases even with sweetened condensed milk. This cake calls for almonds and just a few other ingredients. It is a snap to make in the food processor or blender. This recipe adapted from the Convent of San Jerónimo.
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 cups slivered almonds
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup butter, room temperature and cut into chunks
- 1 tablespoon Port wine, or more to taste (optional)
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon lime juice, freshly squeezed
- ¼ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted
- Whipped cream, for serving (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a round 9- to 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Place the almonds and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. Crack the eggs on top of the mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract and Port, if using. Drop in the butter chunks, and process until smooth and thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the mold. Place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. The top will be nicely golden, the cake will feel springy to the touch and a toothpick should come out clean if inserted in the cake.
- Remove from the oven and let the cake cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Unmold the cake, invert onto a platter and remove the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto another platter so the top of the cake is right side-up.
- In a small saucepan, mix apricot jam with the lime juice. Set over medium heat and simmer for a few minutes. With a brush, spread the apricot glaze along the outer edge of the top of the cake, about 1 to 2 inches wide. Sprinkle the glazed area with the toasted sliced almonds. Serve the cake with whipped cream on the side, or on the top of the cake.