Almond Cake with Warm Citrus and Thyme

This is another near and dear recipe of mine—one that I could enjoy every week. The marrying of various warm citrus (some sweet and some sour or bitter) with an herb is intoxicating. The flavors pair well with this almond cake, which is really a classic frangipane baked as a cake. Make the cake a day ahead for ease of putting it together later. The fruit sauté, like others in this book, is quick and simple. Just make sure to have all your ingredients ready to go before starting to cook.
Makes 6 servings
For the cake:
1 cup (142 g) almond paste, room temperature
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup (1 stick; 113 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
¼ cup (35 g) bread flour
For the citrus:
6 to 10 citrus fruits, such as navel oranges, grapefruit, clementines, and blood oranges (about 2 pounds)
3 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, roughly chopped
Pinch sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  1. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, and line the pan with a circle of parchment that just fits the bottom.
  2. Combine the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix the almond paste and sugar on medium-low speed until the almond paste has broken into small pieces, about 1 minute. Add the butter, and cream the mixture on medium speed, scraping once, until light and fluffy and no pieces of the almond paste are visible, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Finally, add the bread flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Scrape as needed.
  3. Transfer the batter to the cake pan, smoothing the top. Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes until the cake is golden and springs back to the touch.
  4. Cool the cake completely before removing it from the pan. For best flavor and texture, serve the cake at room temperature. You can also freeze the cake, triple wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.
  5. To prepare the citrus while the cake is baking, segment the large citrus (such as oranges and grapefruit) by cutting off the rind top and bottom of each fruit. Then cut off the rind on the sides from top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit. Using a paring knife, cut out each segment of the citrus from its membrane and put the pieces into a medium bowl, saving the juice as well. Small citrus (such as tangerines and clementines) can be peeled and the segments pulled apart. You should have about 3 cups (600 g) of segments. Refrigerate the citrus until you are ready to cook it.
  6. Once the cake is baked and cooled, cut it into six wedges and place them on dessert plates. In a 10-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat, quickly warm the citrus and juice for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, thyme, and salt. Toss over the heat until combined and very hot, but don’t allow the citrus to fall apart.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter. Toss gently to combine. Spoon the citrus over the slices of almond cake and serve immediately.

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