Samin's Almond and Cardamom Tea Cake

Hi, it's been a while. I've missed you guys and this space. I'm still here, still alive, and currently back in LA! I've been a little busy, working on this thing called my first cookbook!! Man, nobody told me how much work, scratch that, everyone told me how much work this would be. But it's also incredible, humbling, and an all-around really good time. So forgive me for the brief pauses here-- I've been all consumed.

General life updates, this Thursday, I'm headed to Seattle for a night (what should I do, can you share recs) and then on to Lummi Island for the weekend. I'm super pumped because I'm attending Gentl & HyersAran Goyoaga, and Jim HenkensWhere the Wild Things Are, A Culinary Travel Photography and Styling Workshop. To say I'm excited is an understatement because Andrea, Martin, and Aran are #goals and their collective bodies of work are crazy inspiring. I cannot wait to spend some time learning from all of these greats! 

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I also owe you an Alaska recap, so be on the lookout for that. I took way too many photos, so it's taken me a bit to sort through them... however, I think I'm finally *almost* done sorting and will be ready to share shortly!! So excited to share all that Alaskan beauty with all of you. 

A while back, jeeze, it was a while, I promised to share this wonderful almond and cardamom tea cake recipe from Samin's beautiful book Salt Fat Acid Heat. It's packed with cardamom and almond, yet delicate and light. I added strawberries because at the moment my fridge was bursting with them and I highly recommend you do the same. As for the book, it's truly a masterpiece. I read it cover to cover and I feel like I need to do it again. It's a book that I feel every cook should add to their collection, said it, meant it. Samin has created a teaching tool that is very approachable, it's funny, sciency, but not too sciency, and filled with so many valuable lessons she's learned along the way. Thank you for all the work you put into this book, Samin!

ALMOND, CARDAMOM, AND STRAWBERRY TEA CAKE

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM SALT FAT ACID HEAT.
Barely adapted.
COPYRIGHT © 2017 BY SAMIN NOSRAT.
PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER.

makes one 9-inch cake

INGREDIENTS

ALMOND TOPPING

  • 4 Tbsp. butter (2 oz.)
  • 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 scant c. sliced almonds (3 oz.)
  • Pinch of flaky salt, such as Maldon

CAKE

  • 1 c. (5 1/4 oz.) cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt or 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 c. almond paste (9 1/2 oz.) at room temperature
  • 1 c. (7 oz.) granulated sugar
  • 16 Tbsp. butter (8 oz.) at room temperature, cubed
  • 2 c. sliced strawberries, divided

TOOLS

  • Small baking dish
  • Food processor
  • Rimless baking sheet

FIX

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Set a rack in the upper third of the oven. Butter and flour a 9 by 2-inch round cake pan, then line with parchment paper.
  2. Make the almond topping. In a small saucepan set over medium-high heat, cook the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, until the sugar dissolves completely and the butter bubbles and froths. Remove from heat and stir in the sliced almonds and flaky salt. Pour this mixture into the cake pan and use a rubber spatula to distribute it evenly across the bottom of the pan.
  3. For the cake, sift the flour (reserving one tablespoon to toss the strawberries in), baking powder, and salt onto a piece of parchment paper to evenly combine and remove any lumps. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, thoroughly whisk together the vanilla, cardamom, and eggs. Set aside.
  5. Place the almond paste in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to break it up. Add 1 cup sugar and process for 90 seconds, or until the mixture is as fine as sand. If you don’t have a food processor, do this in your stand mixer—it’ll just take a while longer, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the butter and continue processing until the mixture is very light and fluffy, at least 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is being combined evenly.
  7. With the machine on, slowly start to add the egg mixture, spoonful by spoonful, as if making a mayonnaise (this is, indeed, an emulsion!). Let each addition of egg be absorbed, and the mixture regain its smooth, silky look, before adding more eggs. When all the eggs have been added, stop and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then continue to mix until well combined. Scrape the batter into a large bowl.
  8. Pick up the parchment paper and use it to sprinkle the flour atop the batter in three batches. Gently fold in the flour in between additions until just incorporated. Toss the strawberry in the reserved one tablespoon of flour then gently fold into the batter. Avoid overmixing, which will cause the cake to become tough.
  9. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake on the prepared rack for 60 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. The cake will just pull away from the sides of the pan as it’s done. Let the cake cool on a wire rack. Run a knife along the sides of the pan, then warm the bottom of the pan directly over the stovetop for a few seconds to encourage the cake to unmold. Remove the paper and set on a cake plate until ready to serve.
  10. Serve this cake on its own or with a whipped cream.

Note: Tightly wrapped, this cake will keep for 4 days at room temperature, or for 2 months in the freezer. Also, please note that strawberries were not in the original recipe, so they can be omitted, but I highly recommend them!