Crystal Almond Pound Cake


If you like almond paste, you’ll love this moist, rich pound cake with sparkling citrus glaze. This delightful cake, which melts in your mouth, is welcome at brunch as well as after dinner.


  • ¾ cup (75 grams) sifted cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (1 orange)
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 ounces (¾ cup) almond paste, room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

Citrus Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar

Baking Equipment

One 8½-inch tube pan or other 7- to 8-cup decorative baking pan


Baking Preparations

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using paper towel, generously grease the bottom and sides of the pan with solid shortening. Dust generously with all-purpose flour, tilt to coat evenly and tap out the excess.

Ingredient Preparations

Pour the flour, baking powder and salt in that order into a triple sifter. Sift onto a sheet of waxed paper to distribute the ingredients evenly; set aside.

Grate only the colored portion of the lemon and orange rind for their zests; set aside. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Add the vanilla and whisk together briefly just to combine yolks and whites. Place the almond paste in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.

Making the Cake

With the flat beater (paddle) and using low speed (#2), break up the almond paste (about 30 seconds). Maintaining the same speed, slowly add the 1 cup of sugar in a steady stream, and beat until incorporated. (If you add the sugar too quickly, the almond paste jumps out of the mixing bowl.)

Continue on low speed while adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon, taking about 1 minute. Stop the machine after all the butter has been added, and scrape the mixture clinging to the sides into the center of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium (#5), and cream until the mixture is lighter in color and fluffy in appearance (about 3 to 4 minutes).

With the mixer still on medium speed, pour in the eggs, cautiously at first, tablespoon by tablespoon. After each portion of the eggs has been absorbed into the mixture, add more. If at any time the mixture appears watery or shiny, stop the flow of eggs and increase the speed until a smooth, silken appearance returns. Then decrease the speed to medium, and resume adding the eggs.

Continue to cream, stopping the mixer and scraping the sides of the bowl at least once. When the mixture appears fluffy, velvety and white, and has increased in volume (including the time to add the eggs, about 2 to 3 minutes), detach the beater and bowl. Tap the beater against the edge of the bowl with enough force to free the excess.

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the lemon and orange zests. Then stir in the flour mixture, about one-half at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl often and mixing until smooth after each addition.

Baking the Cake

Spoon the batter into the pan, and spread it level. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until the sides begin to contract from the pan, the cake springs back when lightly touched and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out free of cake.

Finishing the Cake

Place the cake on a rack to cool for 5 to 7 minutes while preparing the glaze.

Pour the lemon juice, orange juice and the ¾ cup of sugar into a small bowl; stir with a pastry brush to blend.

With mitts, tilt and rotate the pan, and gently tap it to see if the cake is releasing from the metal sides. If not, or if in doubt, run a small metal spatula or the thin blade of a table knife between the outer cake edge and the metal rim, freeing the sides and allowing air to get under the cake as it is rotated.

Turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and position it over a sheet of foil or waxed paper (it will catch any drippings when the glaze is applied). Brush the entire surface of the warm cake with all of the glaze.

Cooling the Cake

Allow the glazed cake to stand for at least 4 hours, or until it is completely cool and the glaze has set like a sheet of crystals, before you remove it from the rack to a serving dish. Lift it by crisscrossing two large metal icing spatulas under the cake. Serve at room temperature.

Storing the Cake

This dessert can’t be frozen because the glaze breaks down and becomes watery when defrosted.