Almond Cake in a Food Processor

November 13, 2008 | By | COMMENTS

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You know the author photos you see on the back flap of cookbooks? Imagine if one of them started talking to you.

That’s how I felt last week when I announced on Twitter that I was making Amanda Hesser’s almond cake (one of my all-time favorite desserts, recipe here) and Amanda Hesser herself, who’s a prolific Twitterer, Tweeted back: “I have a new way of doing the almond cake: mix butter, sugar, almond paste, eggs, sour cream & extract in a food processor.”

I responded to her Tweet by asking if you put everything in at once and she immediately Tweeted: “In stages, the same way you would in a mixer, but just in a food processor.”

I was sold on the method, especially since I hadn’t used my food processor in months.

I began, as she suggested, with the butter and sugar, just as you do when making it in an electric mixer:

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Then I added the almond paste, a little at a time, and let the whole thing go for 8 minutes, just like you do in the original recipe. Only my food processor got a little overheated; I’m not sure it’s good to let it run for so long.

The benefit here is that the pieces of almond paste, which normally don’t completely break up when you use a mixer, get pulverized by the blade. The ensuing batter is smoother and slightly less fluffy, yielding a cake that, to my taste, anyway, was slightly more dense, yet no less delicious:

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I’ve since e-mailed Amanda about this method, and here’s how she came up with it:

“I was on vacation with Tad’s family about a year ago and his sister-in-law wanted to make the cake but there wasn’t a mixer in the house, so we decided to try to adapt it to a food processor. We thought the resulting texture was finer and lighter — more downy than rustic. Sometimes when it’s made in a mixer it’s coarse and there are little chunks of almond paste (particularly if the almond paste isn’t fresh.)”

Indeed: the batter is more homogeneous and the cake is more consistent throughout. So if you’re sick of your electric mixer, or you don’t have an electric mixer, then make your next almond cake in a food processor.

Just don’t forget to Tweet about it, then Plodt about it, when you’re done.

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  • http://www.onalobsterplacemat.blogspot.com Rose

    It’s even more impressive that you made a cake with THAT food processor. I have the same one; it matches my tiny Washington, DC, apartment as I’m sure it does for you in New York.

  • http://www.cookingschools101.com/careers/positions/chef-partie.aspx Station Chef

    Almond cake looks very delicious. Making it in food processor, i feel its the best way to prepare. If taken care properly about the almonds paste and the batter.

    Any way thanks for posting.

    Alice

  • http://www.kittalog.com Kitt

    That looks great! And the food processor tip is handy to know. I need to pull Amanda’s book out again.

  • Craig

    My comment was published yesterday, but now it is deleted for some reason?! Anyway, my original post questioned whether you should really be mixing this for the same amount of time as a mixer. Generally when you mix baked goods in a processor, you do it for a fraction of the time because it generates so much heat. 8 minutes seems like an eternity for the processor–I would say 1 to 1.5 minutes tops, especially for something with butter.

    This is probably why the cake was so dense–essentially you made an oil cake by melting the butter and releasing all the trapped air that softened (but not melted) butter can hold from creaming. Are you sure she intended you to follow the same mixing times?

  • http://www.theceliachusband.blogspot.com H.Peter

    Very interesting concept.

    I have to show this post to Victoria.

    Baking gluten free is always a challenge, so any new ideas are great.

  • http://www.theceliachusband.blogspot.com H.Peter

    Very interesting concept.

    I have to show this post to Victoria.

    Baking gluten free is always a challenge, so any new ideas are great.

  • http://www.theceliachusband.blogspot.com H.Peter

    Very interesting concept.

    I have to show this post to Victoria.

    Baking gluten free is always a challenge, so any new ideas are great.

  • Susan

    8 minutes in a food processor is WAY more than the same time in a mixer. The motor is much more powerful, and the motion doesn’t incorporate any air, which is why the cake was denser. I think you need to cut the mixing time back to about 1 minute in the Cuisinart.

  • http://www.myspace.com/saraevasmom Sara Rose

    I now make this cake in a springform bundt pan and have always had FANTASTIC results- it nearly never sinks in the middle and cooks in a bit less time- try it out!

  • Anonymous

    If you like almond cake, you should try orange-almond cake. Its amaaaaaaaaaazing. (Just so you know: This recipe is from the blog of someone I don’t know, so I’m not shilling. Also, I’ve made this recipe 4 times – i’ve probably only made cake from scratch about 6 times, so that’s pretty impressive – and it’s always a huge hit.)

    http://shecraves.typepad.com/my_weblog/2006/02/orange_almond_c.html

  • Priya

    i’ve had this recipe (clipped from amanda hesser’s column in the new york times magazine) saved in a folder for more than four years, but reading this post was all it took for me to finally make it. and now i’ve made it TWICE within a period of ten days (both times for parties where it was ravenously devoured with no leftovers for me). it’s delicious! thank you for the updated version… somehow the idea of tossing everything into the cuisinart instead of using my (nonexistent) stand mixer made it seem feasible for me, and i’m so glad i tried it!

  • Priya

    i’ve had this recipe (clipped from amanda hesser’s column in the new york times magazine) saved in a folder for more than four years, but reading this post was all it took for me to finally make it. and now i’ve made it TWICE within a period of ten days (both times for parties where it was ravenously devoured with no leftovers for me). it’s delicious! thank you for the updated version… somehow the idea of tossing everything into the cuisinart instead of using my (nonexistent) stand mixer made it seem feasible for me, and i’m so glad i tried it!