I’m a total sucker for buttermilk cakes. They are light, low in fat, and not nearly as guilt-inducing as chocolate cakes. They scream out for a cup of coffee and someone to chat with on the front porch. Skilled kitchen folks and novices alike should find that this cake takes about 15 minutes to make, plus 20-25 minutes for baking – which means you can go from cake-in-theory to cake-in-mouth in under 45 minutes. Oh, and you can find Marcona Almonds at Costco for a teensie-weensie fraction of what they cost at high-end grocery stores. Almond meal is available at the likes of Whole Foods, as well as at Trader Joe’s. Store it in the fridge, or freezer and it will last much longer.
Almond Buttermilk Cake (makes one 9-inch cake)
- ¼ cup almond meal
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup buttermilk (shake well before measuring)
- lemon zest from one lemon (I prefer Meyer lemons)
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons salted Marcona Almonds, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together almond meal, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Add the lemon extract and the egg and beat until just blended (don’t overbeat or you’ll make the cake stiff). Gradually add the flour and buttermilk, alternating in two additions each. Add the lemon zest.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Using a large rubber spatula gently smooth the top of the cake. In a small bowl toss together the 1½ tablespoons of sugar and the almonds. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the cake. Bake for 22-25 minutes in the center of your oven until the cake is a light gold color and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. I wanted to have the sugar/nut side up – so I double inverted the cake, first onto a non-serving plate and then one more time onto my cake plate so that the pretty/interesting side was face up. Serve immediately or allow to cool, and then store in a plastic storage container.