LEMON ALMOND BUTTER CAKE (for eight)
For the lemon curd:
grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 extra-large eggs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
For the cake:
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 extra-large eggs
½ cup ground toasted almonds
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
about ½ cup heavy cream for garnish
1 tablespoon almond liqueur (optional)
1.For the curd, combine zest, juice, sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl and beat well. Add butter, and place over a saucepan full of simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens into curd, about 5 minutes. Strain into a bowl, and press plastic wrap onto surface to keep skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, at least 1-1/2 hours.
2. Heat oven to 350*. Grease a 9 inch spring form pan with 1 tablespoon butter and dust with 1 tablespoon flour, shaking out excess.
3. With an electric mixer, cream the remaining butter and 1 cup sugar together until light and fluffy. Sift together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt, and stir in. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs until they start to foam. Do not overbeat or the cake will be tough. Add eggs and ground almonds to batter and mix well.
4. Scrape batter into the prepared pan. Drop 8 individual tablespoons lemon curd around perimeter of batter, leaving a 1 inch border, and taking care to space drops evenly. Drop 3 to 4 tablespoons curd into center of batter. Refrigerate remaining curd for another use. Sprinkle cake with toasted almonds and 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar, depending on taste.
5. Bake until cake is toasty brown on top and a toothpick inserted into the cake (not the curd) comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool on rack 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan and cool completely.
6. Whip cream with almond liqueur. Present cake at table, and offer whipped cream on the side.
adapted for the New York Times by Jody Adams from The Hands of a Chef, by Regina Schrambling