TUC crackers were nowhere to be found here in Portland, so I substituted Club crackers and it worked out perfectly fine. I suppose you could even use unseasoned bread crumbs or panko. The only thing I recommend is to use fine crumbs. Same for the almonds—the finer the better to insure a nice uniform texture. And yes, I do recommend you grind the almonds if possible. Buying almond meal is a waste of money. It costs about $10 a bag and you may end up with a stale bag.
Almond Cracker Cake
- 3 ½ oz Club House crackers, finely crushed/ground
- 4 oz raw shelled almonds, dried and finely ground
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 to 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 ½ to 6 oz sugar
- 5 egg whites
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar until well mixed. The mixture should be thick and the sugar should appear to be largely dissolved. Add all the dry ingredients and vanilla extract and mix well. The batter will be thick. Bake in a well-greased pan of your choice (tap the pan on the counter a little to spread the batter and release air bubbles). Any regular cake pan or square brownie pan will do. Mini-spring forms allow you to make taller specimens, which can be cut into layers and assembled into an elegant layered cake. I’ve even spread some batter into a shallow mold to get thin disks. This batter is pretty versatile. The cake is done when the center is set and springs back when you press it lightly, about 20 minutes for a regular sized cake pan.
So now you have this delicious cake, how to serve it? If you’re a chocoholic then maybe top with a rich chocolate ganache. For something lighter (in appearance, not calories!) try making a layer cake with whipped cream and fresh fruit. When I baked up the disks I spread a light layer of chocolate ganache on them and pressed some crushed See’s Victoria Toffee on top. Those were really, really delicious and lasted about all of 2 minutes. This time we did cardamom ice cream with a drizzling of dark chocolate sauce. Highly recommend the chocolate sauce. So easy with a rich chocolate taste.
As I was taking the pictures, Sonny was hovering around, blocking the light, as the ice cream was melting, spoon in hand, ready to dig in. After each click, he asked, Now? Are you done now?
Good things come to those who wait.