Almond extract lends the most wonderfully rich, nutty, and sweetly perfumed flavor to anything it touches.
And it touched this unique cake plenty in the three tablespoons I used.
French almond cakes are typically rectangular little cakes that have a firm, crusty exterior and a moist, soft interior. They’re also known as financiers because traditionally they look like gold bars. But since no one I know has financier molds to make individual cakes, one 9-inch cake is my solution.
It’s one of the easiest and fastest cakes I’ve ever made, and goes from cupboard to pan to oven in less than five minutes. Just one bowl and a whisk is all you need.
French almond cakes are typically made without chemical leaveners such as baking powder or soda, and rely only on eggs for lift. This creates a dense and moist cake, with an interior that resembles the interior of Cookie Bars.
Some recipes use almond meal or almond flour, but I didn’t want to run the risk of weighing down the leavener-less cake with nut-based flour and used trusty all-purpose.
I don’t like actual nuts in baked goods, but extracts are fair game. Biting into nuts in a soft cookie or tender piece of cake is as bad as biting into eggshells. Crunchy, they catch you off guard, and just don’t belong.
So I’m especially grateful for almond extract to give this cake all the almond flavor it has going.
If you’ve never bought almond extract, it’s sold near the vanilla extract in the grocery store. At my grocery store, a one-ounce bottle of store-brand real almond extract was $2.99. Imitation almond extract was also $2.99, so I went with real and happily used almost half the little bottle in the recipe and it’s the star of the show.
The cake is bursting at the seams with sweet almond flavor. Two tablespoons of extract are used in the cake batter, and one tablespoon in the glaze. I wanted to make sure I knew this was an almond cake, not a cake masquerading as one, and used the extract liberally.
It’s traditional to top the cake with jam or slivered almonds, and I used apricot-peach jam mixed with cream cheese, draped over the top. I could happily smear that mixture on everything I see. The tang of the cream cheese cuts some of the sweetness from the jam.
While it was baking, my husband came out of his office and asked me what that heavenly smell was. Almond extract is like sweet perfume that permeates the air in the most lovely way.
It’s sweet, light, and feels like spring. I think it would be perfect for a brunch, shower, or any time that you need a smaller-sized, fast, and very easy little cake.
And I really want to eat eat the glaze by the spoonful, especially the little chunks of apricot that peek through.
French almond cakes are known for their chewy edges with soft, dense, rich, and moist interiors. There's no chemical leaveners used in the cake, and it reminds me of a pan of cookie bars. It's sweet, fragrant, rich, soft, chewy and strongly almond-flavored. Extremely fast, easy, and perfect for a brunch, shower, or anytime you need a smaller-sized cake that's both easy and unique.
Yield: one 9-inch cake, 8 to 12 slices
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick + half of 1 stick)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons almond extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
about 1/2 cup toasted slivered almonds, optional for sprinkling (I did not use)
Apricot Cream Cheese Glaze
3/4 to 1 cup apricot-peach jam (or a pineapple, peach, apricot or favorite jam)
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon almond extract
Recipe from Averie Cooks. All images and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or simply link back to this post for the recipe. Thank you.
Caramel Peanut Butter and Apricot Jelly Bars (GF with Vegan adaptation)
Have you tried French almond cake or financiers before? Almond extract? Nuts in desserts?
I’ve never been to France or had the real thing, but I’d be happy to go on a taste-testing trip in the name of field research as soon as someone wants to buy my airline ticket.