Almond-Lemon Poppy-Seed Teacake

10 Oct

Recipe, the second, from Tartine that I used for the October Salt Salon featuring Corrina Bain. I have to start out by saying that I adore almond paste, and I was very excited to use it in making a teacake for my very first tea party. The book explains how to make the batter in a stand mixer — which I do not own. I do, however, own a very lovely food processor (which I also adore), and decided to try using that instead. It was perfect and I highly recommend using a food processor for this. I’ve revised the recipe to reflect food processor usage. Also, the book’s recipe does not include poppy seeds but the accompanying photo did, so I decided to go with it. Oh, yes, and I baked this in 4 mini-loaf pans, which reduced the cooking time by about 10 minutes. I started checking the loaves at half an hour.

P.S. Have you bought a kitchen scale yet?

Almond-Lemon Poppy-Seed Tea Cake
from Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson
makes 8-10 servings (1 large loaf or 4 mini-loaves)

Ingredients

Pastry or cake flour, sifted ¾ cup 3.25 ounces/95 grams
Baking powder ½ teaspoon 2 ml
Salt 1/8 teaspoon ½ ml
Poppy seeds 2 tablespoons 19 grams
Large eggs 5
Vanilla extract 1 teaspoon 5 ml
Almond paste, at room temperature ¾ cup 7 ounces/200 grams
Sugar 1 cup 7 ounces/200 grams
Unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup (2 sticks) 8 ounces/225 grams
Lemon zest, grated 1 teaspoon 5 ml
Orange zest, grated 1 teaspoon 5 ml
Citrus Glaze
Lemon juice 3 tablespoons 1.5 ounces/45 ml
Orange juice 3 tablespoons 1.5 ounces/45 ml
Sugar ¾ cup 5.25 ounces/150 grams

Notes: The key to making this batter smooth is incorporating the almond paste completely before the eggs are added. The success of the glaze — a pretty crystallized look and proper set — is dependent on two things: the glaze must be made just before it is brushed on the cake, and the cake must be warm from the oven so that the sugar and juices can penetrate it properly and form crystals.

Procedure

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Lightly butter and flour an 8 ½-inch tube pan or a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, knocking out excess flour.

To make the cake, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt twice. Add the poppy seeds and whisk thoroughly. In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla and whisk together just to combine. Put the almond paste in the bowl of a food processor and process until the paste breaks up. With the processor running, slowly add the sugar in a steady stream, processing until incorporated. Cut the butter into 1-tablespoon pieces. Continue processing while adding the butter, a tablespoon at a time, for about 1 minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn on the machine again, and let run until the mixture is light in color and kind of fluffy. With the processor still running, add the eggs in a slow stream until incorporated. Stop the machine again and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Pulse the mixture a few times to incorporate.

At this point transfer the batter into a mixing bowl, making sure to get every last bit out with a rubber spatula. Add the citrus zests and mix in with a wooden spoon. Finally, add the flour mixture in 2 batches, stirring after each addition until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl one last time, and then spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with an offset spatula.

Bake until the top springs back when lightly touched and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 to 7 minutes while you make the glaze.

To make the glaze, stir together the lemon and orange juices and the sugar in a small bowl. Place the wire rack holding the cake over a sheet of waxed paper or aluminum foil to catch any drips of glaze, and invert the cake onto the rack. If the cake does not want to release from the pan, run the tip of a small knife around the edge to loosen it. Brush the entire warm cake with the glaze, then let the cake cool completely on the rack. The cake breaks apart easily when war, so don’t attempt to move it.

When the cake is cool, transfer it to a serving plate, using 2 crisscrossed icing spatulas or the base of a two-part tart pan to lift it. Serve at room temperature. The cake will keep, well wrapped, for 1 week in the refrigerator.

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