Fallen Angel Almond Cake

This cake is from an old southern cookbook I bought for a dollar in Virginia years ago. The measurements were very generalized so I have modified them to more contemporary standards. It’s denser than an angel food cake since ground almonds replace the flour, but still lighter than a regular cake. For those unable to tolerate gluten, this is wonderful alternative.

Ingredients:
6 cups (1 pound) sliced almonds or about 3 cups whole almonds, ground. Measure before grinding.
12 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
zest of one large lemon (preferably Meyer) or orange, coarsely grated
powdered sugar

Prepare a 10” or 12” angel food pan with removable bottom. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind almonds (I use a coffee grinder) until fine. Separate eggs, mixing egg yolks only with granulated sugar and extract. Add almonds and zest. In a separate bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff. Fold into almond mixture. Transfer to pan and bake about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cake may fall a bit. Cool. Run knife along edge of pan and tube. Remove from side of pan carefully then flip cake over on tube and remove bottom. Dust with powdered sugar using a sieve. Serve with whipped cream lightly sweetened and then flavored with 1-2 teaspoons coffee crystals or 2-3 tablespoons Grand Marnier.

Note: With that many egg whites being the leavening, the batter will rise a bit. If you are using a smaller pan, make sure it doesn’t spill over by making a parchment or wax paper collar, allowing 3-4 inches above the rim, and tape to outside of the pan.

WINE: A dessert wine such as a Late Harvest Riesling or French Sauterne.

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