Take a cue from Italian bakers and add ground almonds to cake batter to create moist, stackable layers. You can grind almonds yourself in a food processor or use purchased almond meal, also called almond flour. The right ratio of almond extract to lemon peel sets a luscious stage for a triple sampling of jams and a crown of whipped cream.
Makes 20 servings
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 ¼ cups almond meal, divided
- 4 ½ tsp baking powder, divided
- 1 tsp baking soda, divided
- 1 tsp salt, divided
- 1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, divided
- 2 ⅔ cups granulated sugar, divided
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract, divided
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest, divided
- 6 large eggs, divided
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk, divided
- Three flavors of jam (⅔ cup each)
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line pans with parchment cut to fit; lightly spray parchment.
- In a medium bowl, stir together 1½ cups flour, ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons almond meal, 2¼ teaspoons baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda and ½ teaspoon salt; set aside. In a large bowl, beat together ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter and 1⅓ cups sugar with electric mixer until well combined. Beat in ¾ teaspoon almond extract and ½ teaspoon grated lemon zest. Add 3 eggs, one at a time, beating 30 seconds after each addition.
- With mixer on low, alternate adding flour mixture with ¾ cup buttermilk, beating just until combined. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, spreading to edges. Bake 24 to 26 minutes or until golden. Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire rack. Loosen edges of cakes; turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Repeat all instructions to make two more cake layers.
- To assemble, place one cake layer on serving platter; spread with ⅔ cup of one flavor of jam. Repeat twice with remaining cake layers and jams. Top with final cake layer.
- In a medium bowl, beat together whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed just until stiff peaks form. Spread over top of cake.
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