Berry Simple Almond Cake is a simple cake to make, but the flavors are anything but. Spring has officially arrived, but local berries and fresh rhubarb are not yet available. If like me, you can’t wait, grocery store raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries will bake up nicely in this cake.
When strawberries are in season, they are delicious in this cake. Strawberries, however, are pretty tasteless this time of the year, so I decided to use Slow Roasted Strawberries until the first fresh rhubarb is available. Roasting the berries concentrates the fruit’s natural sugar, leaving the berries with a heightened sweetness and a deep, rich flavor.
I also baked the cake using fresh raspberries which one of my tasters preferred to the strawberries. You can use a mix of different berries. The combination of almond flour, cornmeal, and ricotta cheese creates a cake that is moist, soft, rich tasting, and mildly dense at the same time. With flavors of almond (almond flour, almond extract, and sliced almonds on top), orange zest and cardamom, the cake is just sweet enough to count as a dessert and light enough to ask for seconds!
Berry Simple Almond Cake
- Slow Roasted Strawberries or other fresh berries (see instructions below for amounts)
- 1⅓ cups fine almond flour
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cardamom (optional but additive)
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ½ cup ricotta
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon orange zest or lemon zest depending on what kind of berry you are using
- Sliced almonds and sanding sugar for finishing
Slow Roasted Strawberries
- 4 cups strawberries, stems removed and cut in half (for large berries, cut into quarters)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- If you are using Slow Roasted Strawberries, make them ahead of time (see instructions following the cake recipe.). If you are using fresh rhubarb or other berries, use 1½ cups thinly sliced rhubarb or 1 cup sliced strawberries, or 1 cup fresh blueberries, raspberries or blackberries. The berries should cover the batter in a single layer.
- Grease and flour a 9” cake pan or springform pan and line with parchment paper. Heat oven to 325° convection.
- Combine almond flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Set aside. I prefer fine cornmeal in this recipe for the best texture. If you don’t have fine cornmeal, just pulse medium or coarse cornmeal in a food processor to make it finer.
- Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down bowl as needed.
- Add the buttermilk, ricotta, extracts and zest. Combine well. By hand, fold in the flour mixture just until incorporated.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth the top. Arrange the berries on top of the batter in a single layer. No need to press into the batter – they will sink a bit as the cake bakes. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and sanding sugar.
- Bake 30-35 minutes until center is set.
Slow Roasted Strawberries
- Heat oven to 250° convection.
- Toss the strawberries and sugar together and let stand for about 5 minutes. Spread in an even layer in a non-reactive pan. A non-stick sheet pan works well.
- Roast uncovered for about 2 hours. They are done when their juices have reduced to a syrup, but not darkened into caramel. The berries should be jammy – not dry.