This beautifully textured cake is soft, crumbly, and crunchy all at once—a crowd-pleasing dessert you can serve all year. Semolina flour gives the light and tender interior a bit of heartiness, and almond paste in the batter keeps the cake moist.

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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan; set aside.

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  • Sift all-purpose flour, baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoon salt together into a medium bowl; stir in semolina flour. Set aside.

  • Whisk 1 of the egg whites vigorously in a small bowl until foamy. Transfer 2 teaspoons of egg white to a medium bowl; discard remainder. Stir almonds, brown sugar, and a pinch of salt into egg white. Set almond mixture aside.

  • Put butter, 1 cup granulated sugar, and the almond paste in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg yolks and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes.

  • Reduce speed to low. Mix in reserved flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of the milk. Continue mixing until no traces of flour or milk remain, about 2 minutes. Transfer the cake batter to a large bowl.

  • Fit the electric mixer with the whisk attachment. Put remaining 4 egg whites in a clean mixing bowl; beat on medium high speed until foamy. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar; beat until soft peaks form.

  • Using a rubber spatula, fold half of egg-white mixture into batter. Gently fold in remaining egg-white mixture.

  • Transfer the batter to buttered pan. Smooth top with spatula. Bake until cake begins to turn golden but center is still wobbly, 15 to 20 minutes.

  • Remove cake from oven; scatter reserved almond mixture evenly over top.

  • Return cake to oven; bake until topping is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. (Check cake 10 to 15 minutes beforehand; if almond topping is darkening too quickly, cover loosely with foil, and continue to bake.)

  • Let cake cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Run a thin knife around edges of cake to loosen; remove sides of pan. Using two spatulas, transfer cake to a serving platter or a cake stand. Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 4 days.

Cook's Notes

Use a long serrated knife in a gentle sawing motion to cut through the topping and slice the cake. If you prefer, substitute yellow cornmeal; the cake will still be delicious, but crumblier.

Reviews (2)

41 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 7
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 11
  • 2 star values: 13
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: Unrated
12/12/2009
The ingredients list does omit the 1 1/4 cups of grandulated sugar. The directions are accurate. Nice cake with full flavor.
Rating: Unrated
06/14/2009
The ingredient list does not call for granulated sugar; however, in step #6, it calls for remaining granulate sugar !?!