Friday, April 3, 2009

Almond Cracker Cake

A few weeks ago, Bedstefar (my FIL) sent me a recipe for a cake that sounded really interesting. Instead of being made with flour, it’s made with crushed TUC crackers and hazelnuts (which I guess means it’s technically a torte?). The directions were pretty barebones so I figured I better work out the kinks before their visit in April. ☺

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.

The texture was dense and moist. Perfect.

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.

Topped with Victoria Toffee.

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.


Wandering Chopsticks said...

Oh man, your kid just gets cuter and cuter.

This reminds me of faux apple pie made with ritz crackers instead of apples. I've never tried it, but supposedly it fools some people.

Dee said...

WC, thanks! He was home sick today and at the end of a long day like this, cute is not the first word that comes to mind :-)

Now I'm going to have to look for that Ritz recipe. I love the unexpected and different.

Tove said...

Looks so good that I do not know, if I can wait any more to visit all of you, and to taste your cooking.
- and he is cute.
Tove (mil)

Dee said...

Tove, we are excited for your visit. The cake won't last that long, though. We'll just have to make more :-)

pam said...

That is a beautiful cake. It also made me think of those faux apple pies.

Dee said...

Thanks, Pam! I was really happy with the way it turned out.

Heather said...

Ooh, that sounds great. Club crackers are so buttery, and almonds so, uh, nutty that I can see myself eating quite a lot of it.

WC is so right about the boy. :)

Dee said...

Thanks Heather! And BTW, is it true what you posted on Twitter??? About the P word, that is?? :-)

Langdon Cook said...

Now that's a happy camper!

QGIRL said...

Sonny is adorable. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing your kid enjoying your cooking - and licking his fingers clean!

Marvin said...

Picture looks great even with Sonny blocking the light.

Silly question: if you grind almonds yourself, won't it turn into almond butter (like peanut butter)?

Dee said...

LC, we were both happy campers! I didn't let him eat it all himself!

qgirl, you're right, but I only wish he would enjoy more of the savory dishes I make.

Marvin, I was afraid of making almond butter as well, but you just need to stop grinding before it clumps together. I maybe should have mentioned this, but it helps to pre-chop the almonds with a knife, which will mean less grinding time to achieve a good texture. I also used my spice grinder, which seemed to work better than the processor. Don't know why.

Jason said...

Darlene, I'm loving your new set-up, everything looks amazing! Also, what an interesting recipe, I just might have to try this one out, looks pretty tasty.

Dee said...

Thank you, Jason! I'm feeling pretty good about the layout. Now I just have to work on organizing the stuff. Slow but steady is my mantra.

Manggy said...

I don't know why you don't do desserts more often here-- this looks phenomenal, and really simple too (if you can get grinding almonds right). The Victoria toffee for some reason just screams "English!!" to me :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your little guy is my kind of kid! Everyone knows that the best part is licking sweet stuff from your fingers.

TS of eatingclub vancouver said...

Oh no, no entry for Regional Recipes this time around? =(

Dee said...

ts, I'm sending it your way right now! Couldn't miss my own event now, could I?