This is a moist butter cake with a subtle almond flavor. When small strawberries or fresh raspberries are available, I substitute them for the jam and nuts and arrange the berries on top of the cake as though it were a tart.
5½-cup shallow fluted tube pan
Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.
Using a paper towel, grease the bottom and sides of the pan with solid shortening. Dust generously with all-purpose flour, shake to distribute and tap out excess.
Pour the flour, baking powder and salt into a triple sifter. Sift onto a sheet of waxed paper and set aside.
Crack the eggs into a small mixing bowl; whisk together just to combine yolks and whites. Place the almond paste in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.
With the flat beater (paddle), beat the almond paste on low speed (#3) for 30 seconds. Maintaining the same speed, add the sugar in a steady stream, and beat until incorporated (about 1 minute).
Continue on low speed while adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. Stop the machine after all the butter has been added, and scrape the mixture clinging to the sides down into the center of bowl. Increase the speed to medium (#5) and cream until mixture is smooth, lighter in color and fluffy in texture (about 3 to 4 minutes). No lumps of almond paste should be visible.
With the mixer still on medium speed, pour in the eggs, cautiously at first, tablespoon by tablespoon, as if you were adding oil when making mayonnaise. Each time the egg is absorbed, add a little more. If at any time the mixture appears watery or shiny, stop the flow of egg and increase the speed until a smooth, silken appearance returns. Then decrease the speed to medium and resume adding the eggs.
Continue to cream, scraping the sides of bowl at least once, until the mixture appears light in color and fluffy in texture (about 2 to 3 minutes). Detach the beater and bowl, and tap the beater against the side of the bowl to free the excess. Stir in the orange zest with a rubber spatula.
With the same rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl often and mixing until smooth.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it level with the rubber spatula.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center is removed free of cake. (It is perfectly natural for this cake to shrink slightly toward the end of baking.)
Place the cake on a rack to cool for about 5 minutes. With mitts, tilt and rotate the pan and gently tip it to see if the cake releases from the sides. If not, or if in doubt, run a small metal spatula or thin table knife between the cake edge and metal rim, freeing the sides and allowing air to get under the cake as it is rotated.
Turn the cake out onto a rack, remove the pan and invert the cake right side up to cool completely.
On the day of serving, spread the raspberry jam over the entire surface of the cake, using the back of a spoon (if necessary, warm jam slightly to make spreading easier). Top with the toasted almonds. Serve at room temperature.
Store at room temperature, or freeze before decorating.
© 1984 Flo Braker estate. All rights reserved.