Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Perfect Afternoon Cake

Chamomile and Almond Souffle Cake Recipe

by Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson

Servings 6 TO 8


1/4 Cup sliced almonds
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for buttering pan
Flour, for flouring pan

8 bags chamomile tea
6 oz. whole blanched almonds
6 oz. sugar, plus bit more for serving plate
4 lg. eggs, 1 separated
Zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
1 oz. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Toast the sliced almonds for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool. Butter and flour a 9 in. cake pan. Sprinkle the toasted almonds on the bottom of the pan. Turn up the oven to 320 degrees.

Remove the chamomile tea from the bags. In a food processor, process the whole blanched almonds, sugar, a pinch of salt, and chamomile into a paste. This will take several minutes. If the mixture is dry, add 1 egg white to form a paste. Otherwise, add the white at the very end of the processing and combine.

Transfer the almond pasteto a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 1 yolk and 1 egg and beat on low for 1 minute. Add another egg and beat for another minute. Add the last egg and the lemon zest and beat for beat for about 5 more minutes, or until the mixture is light in color and increased in volume.

With a rubber spatula, fold in the cornstarch and baking powder until mostly combined. Use as few strokes as possible. Add the melted butter and fold in until just combined. If you overmix the batter, it will knock out the incorporated air.

Pour the batter a little more than halfeay up the sides of the prepared cake pan. Bake at 320 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the top is just set. Because the cake is so tender, it will feel soft to the touch even when fully cooked.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it stand for 3 minutes. Sprinkle a plate generously with sugar and then turn the cake out onto the plate (because the cake is flourles, without the sugar it will stick to the plate. Cool fully, then cover until ready to serve. Dust with the confectioners' sugar, slice, and serve.

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