Almond Cake with Almond Butter Frosting

Menu Part: 

Executive Chef John McConnell
Clif Family Winery
St Helena, Calif.

This delicate cake, developed for the menu at Clif Family Winery in California, goes just as well with a cup of coffee or tea as it does with a glass of dessert wine. Almonds add richness and a nutty flavor to both the cake and frosting.


1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. sugar, plus more for pan
1 cup cake flour
1/4 cup almond meal
3/4 cup raw blanched almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 vanilla bean, seeds scrapped
2 whole eggs
1/4 cup sour cream
4 to 5 apricots, pitted and sliced into wedges

Almond butter frosting
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup almond butter
3 to 4 tbsp. whole milk
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup toasted almond slices
Sliced apricots, for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter inside of tart pan with removeable bottom and sprinkle sugar inside pan to coat; dump off excess. 
2. In food processor, combine flour, almond meal, almonds, baking powder and salt. Pulse until mixture is finely ground with no large visible pieces of almonds.
3. In stand mixer fit with paddle, combine butter, 3/4 cup sugar and vanilla seeds. Beat on high for 4 to 5 minutes until mixture appears light and fluffy.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly combined after each addition. Continue to whip mixture for an additional 4 to 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Stop mixer and carefully add all dry ingredients (flour, almond meal, almond pieces, baking powder and salt); mix on low speed until incorporated.
5. Scrape down sides of mixing bowl to ensure mixture is homogenous. Add sour cream; continue to incorporate on low speed.
6. Arrange apricot slices inside buttered and sugared 9- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom. Pour thick batter over apricot pieces and then sprinkle remaining sugar over top of poured cake. Bake on sheet tray and rotate half-way through baking time. Bake cake 50 to 55 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Baking time will vary, but to ensure doneness, use cake tester. Let cake cool on wire rack before transferring to cake dish to frost.
7. For almond butter frosting: In mixer fit with paddle, combine softened butter with almond butter; whip until well mixed and soft. Add powdered sugar; reduce speed and mix to incorporate. Powdered sugar will thicken frosting. To adjust consistency, thin with milk, one tablespoon at a time. Keep frosting inside stand mixer. Place layer of plastic film on surface of frosting to prevent hardening.
8. After cake is completely cool, spread top with thin layer of frosting. Garnish outside of cake with toasted almond slices. To serve, slice cake into portions and garnish with slices of ripe, fresh pitted apricots.

Photo courtesy of The Almond Board

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