“Exceptionally sweet, moist, and dense, almost more like a giant almond macaroon or a marzipan confection of some sort, buttery and almond and chewy.” That’s how the author describes this flourless almond cake. That pretty much sums it up. Unlike many gluten-free cakes, this one is quite crisp and crunchy on the outside, dense and moist and chewy on the inside. And those of you for whom this seems familiar, it’s also known as amandier or gâteau de Visan, after the Provençal village where it originated. A cup of coffee or strongly brewed tea nicely offsets the cake’s not-so-subtle-yet-still-lovely sweetness.–David Leite

How To Make This Cake In An 6-Inch Cake Pan

This cake was originally devised to be made in a 6-inch cake pan. Which, admittedly, isn’t terribly convenient for most of us home bakers, so we tested and adjusted it for an 8-inch square pan, which is what you’ll find in the recipe below. If you prefer to stick with the smaller size of 6 inches, simply halve the ingredients.

A round flourless almond cake on a wooden baking paddle with almonds scattered around it

Flourless Almond Cake

4.88 / 58 votes
This flourless almond cake is made with ground almonds and quick and easy to toss together. It’s French-inspired and flavorful and gluten-free through and through. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, dense and chewy on the inside. Perfect for Passover.
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineFrench
Servings8 servings
Calories397 kcal
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour

Equipment

  • 8-inch (15-cm) square cake pan (or 9-inch round)

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups plus 6 tablespoons ground almonds (almond flour), sifted
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for the pan
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Line an 8-inch square cake pan (or 9-inch round pan) with parchment paper cut to fit and generously butter the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground almonds, salt, confectioners’ sugar, and granulated sugar. Add the beaten egg, melted butter, and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Mix until smooth. The batter should be quite thick.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack and let it cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap until serving. The almond cake will keep in an airtight container, or well wrapped in plastic wrap, for several days…though it’s highly unlikely that anyone will resist for that long.
Baklava to Tarte Tatin Cookbook

Adapted From

Baklava to Tarte Tatin

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 397 kcalCarbohydrates: 30 gProtein: 9 gFat: 29 gSaturated Fat: 9 gMonounsaturated Fat: 3 gTrans Fat: 0.5 gCholesterol: 77 mgSodium: 25 mgFiber: 4 gSugar: 24 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 Bernard Laurance. Photo © 2015 Amélie Roche. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

It would be hard to eat just one thin slice of this cake. In fact, it would be next to impossible. This cake is quite irresistible. The texture was so lovely, especially around the edges, and the color was beautiful. The buttery almond flavor was divine, and while there certainly wouldn’t be any harm in trying the cake with the citrus zest or orange flower water suggested, I’d also try substituting rose water for the vanilla.

The cake isn’t very tall. It’s worth investing in a 6-inch cake pan, which isn’t difficult to track down.

At 35 minutes, the cake didn’t look done. At 40 minutes, the toothpick tested clean. This was the first one, the one that broke a bit on removal from the pan. I was baking with a friend, and we thought we would try 48 minutes on the second round. The second time, the cake looked golden brown, browner than anticipated, at 45 minutes. We were still seeing a bit of uncooked batter in the center at 45 minutes. My thought is at least 48 minutes is needed and maybe even a few minutes longer.

Lastly, I dare anyone, even a solo eater, to try to keep this cake around for any length of time, though it’s nice to know this could be done successfully if my willpower would cooperate! This is lovely with a cup of nice, strong black tea.

This quick-to-prepare, light-tasting cake, or rather, confection, has just the right amount of sweetness and the lovely taste of almond. The almond cake recipe is easy to assemble and the cake turns out moist in the middle and slightly firm at the edges.

I didn’t have a 6-inch cake tin so I just heaped the batter on a buttered parchment sheet, smoothed it into a circle with the back of a spatula, and placed it in a 9-inch pie dish, leaving several inches of empty space between the edge of the pie plate and the batter. The free-formed cake cooked up beautifully and I knew it was done when the toothpick came out clean after about 40 minutes or so.

It was cut into wedges and served warm with espresso and milk and enjoyed by all who tried it. Everyone asked for seconds!

This simple recipe produces a densely delicious cake that can easily be put together in the spur of the moment. It can be served as suggested, in thin slices with tea or coffee, or plated with a dollop of cream (unsweetened since the cake has so much sweet marzipan-like flavor).

I actually made it twice, and I think that, at least for my oven, a slightly longer baking time and more attention to beating the egg helped improve the second one. The first one came out lightly golden at 35 minutes with the classic smooth sheet on top, pulling away slightly form the edges of the pan, but when I turned it out, it looked concave. It was still delicious both the first night and the next day, though it became more dense. For almond lovers, that is still all good. I set that one aside and made a second cake the next day. I thought that since, unlike other almond cakes where you whip the egg whites separately, maybe I needed a bit more egg volume, so I chose a larger egg and, using a wire whisk by hand, really beat it a full 1 1/2 or 2 minutes. I still folded in the egg and melted butter as gently as I could.

The other thing is to be gentle with the filled pan and just place it in the oven (i.e., don’t rap the cake pan to release air like you might have been taught as a kid making his or her first cakes). This needs to just have the batter smoothed and then baked. Resist the urge to open the oven to check on it. Just test it at 35 minutes and be sure the color is right—you want a toasted, golden look. If it isn’t quite there yet, give it another 5 minutes.

It turns out easily—I put a second piece of parchment on the cooling rack to turn it over onto. Cut with a very sharp or serrated knife. No need to add anything, though a small dollop of unsweetened cream and a bit of citrus zest or a sprig of mint would be elegant for guests. It makes a 6-inch cake that can easily serve 8 if you don’t hide it and keep it for yourself. I stored my wrapped cake in the fridge, and it had a nice firm denseness that was even better the second day. My mate rated this an 11! I appreciated this cake all the more when I saw the prices it sells for online! Not bad for 15 minutes prep and a little patience.

The flavor of the cake was very subtle and fairly sweet. I would’ve liked a touch less sugar. The edges were nice and chewy, and the middle was decadently buttery and soft.

This flourless almond cake certainly won’t win any awards for looks—the top was pale and slightly lumpy looking, and the inside crumb was dense and less than photogenic. But the flavor and the aroma more than made up for its lackluster appearance. The almond flavor was subtle but nicely complemented by a hint of vanilla.

The cake came together in no time with just a bowl and a spoon, which means that I can have fresh almond cake in less than an hour with little cleanup. I will definitely be making this again, though I might add a touch of almond extract next time in addition to the vanilla extract.

I have a 6-inch cake pan that I’ve never used, so I was thrilled to find a recipe for a 6-inch cake. The finished cake was about 1 inch tall. I was already mixing up the cake when I realized there was no leavening of any kind. I was afraid the cake would be too dense, but it was fine.

After 35 minutes of baking, the cake still seemed soft and looked raw on top. After 40 minutes, the cake was firm, and a tester came out clean. My almond flour was made from natural almonds, not blanched almonds. I imagine that’s why my cake was less golden than the picture.

This flourless almond cake is definitely not a tender crumb cake you might associate with the term “cake,” but it was a very flavorful little gluten-free cake. The almond and vanilla flavors were very pronounced, which we liked. I used an 8-inch buttered pan with parchment paper. It took 27 minutes to turn golden. The cake didn’t rise very much but remained sweet and crunchy on top.

I served our almond cake in thin slices with fresh peaches and softly whipped cream. It was an irresistible gluten-free dessert!

This is a good recipe in terms of taste. Itʻs like a very large cookie, albeit a very soft cookie, rather than a cake.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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Recipe Rating




179 Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made this cake last night. It came together quickly, pretty much as quickly as any cake I’ve ever made and it was an appropriate amount of batter for my nine inch round pan. Because of the almond flour, it had an unusual texture. What it evokes for me is an enormous almond macaroon, because, ultimately, that’s what it is. I will probably make this again, but only for Passover.
    One thing that I would suggest to others: Take the instruction to use parchment paper VERY seriously. I didn’t, because I use a silicone pan, butter heavily, and line the sides of the buttered pan with almond meal. My bad! This cake broke apart somewhat as I was taking it out of the pan. I think it has to do with the nature of its structural integrity. You can see the damage if you look carefully at this picture. The bottom of the cake stuck to the bottom of the pan substantially, and was a bit of a mess (more tasty bits for me!).

    1. Steve, I’m so glad you liked the cake. And a “giant macaroon” is a good description. Alas, I think coating the mold with almond flour is what did you in when it came to sticking. It gives more to stick to the pan. It’s the same reason you butter a mold and sprinkle it with cheese or breadcrumbs when making a soufflé. It gives the the batter something to stick to.