12th Day of Christmas: Bake Italian Almond Cake


A delicious yet simple holiday dessert.

This story, by Marika Suval, appears on NPR.

Need A Holiday Dessert Idea? Italian Almond Cake Could Be Meal’s Perfect End Note

Bishop: Cake Is Elegant, Rich And Deceptively Simple To Make

Imagine this scenario: You’ve put a lot of thought and planning and effort into creating a gorgeous and festive holiday meal and you need just one more thing: the perfect dessert end note to round it all off.

“You need to be able to make some spectacular dessert that will end that lavish meal on a high note,” said Jack Bishop, chief creative officer of “America’s Test Kitchen.”

Bishop’s favorite is an Italian almond cake, which he said is the ideal choice for Christmas Eve festivities.

“One of the reasons I love this recipe is because it is incredibly elegant and fancy but incredibly simple,” said Bishop. “And you just don’t tell anybody how simple the recipe was.”

This single-layer cake gets its rich flavor by replacing a large portion of the flour with ground almonds. According to Bishop, the crumb is fine and moist and incredibly rich. Touches of lemon zest and almond extract brighten the flavor and lightly toasted almonds shelter the top.

Bishop recommends dusting the cake with a little powdered sugar before serving it at the end of the holiday meal with a cup of espresso or tea. A touch of orange crème fraiche is optional.

“It’s just gorgeous and delicious and it’s almost all almonds. The cake only has about three-quarters of a cup of flour in it. That tells you that everything else is delicious and flavorful,” he said. Get the recipe for almond cake at NPR.

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