This cake is inspired by a classic recipe that originated in Brittany, France. Simply called gateau Breton — Brittany cake — it’s like a super-ultra-rich version of pound cake. Quickly mixed together by hand in a single bowl, it makes the most dense, luxurious cake ever.
We’ve taken the same cake and infused it with citrus zests and warm fall spices. Walnuts and hazelnuts work just as well as the almonds, if you prefer.
To make toasted, ground nuts, arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350-degrees oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool completely, then grind them in a food processor until finely ground, but not reduced to a paste. Alternatively, you can purchase ground almonds; simply spread them on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until light golden.
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes (15 minutes active)
11/4 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground dry ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1/2 orange
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup toasted and finely ground almonds
2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
2 tablespoons turbinado or raw sugar
Whole almonds, to garnish
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9-inch cake pan with baking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger and salt. Add the egg yolks, vanilla and both zests. Whisk until smooth, pale and slightly thickened. Gently whisk in the melted butter, then stir in the ground almonds. Gently fold in the flour, just until combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the raw sugar over the top, then decorate with whole almonds. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and set on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Nutrition information per serving: 310 calories; 180 calories from fat (58 percent of total calories); 20g fat (11g saturated; 0g trans fats); 145mg cholesterol; 32g carbohydrate; 1g fiber; 16g sugar; 4g protein; 45mg sodium.