This cake is a doozy. I know that it may seem rather bold of me to begin diving right into the accolades here—jeez, lady, tell us how you really feel—but there is little more that I can say about this cake than this: it is perfect
This is the cake that I want in my sticky little hands when I think of coffee cake. This is the cake that I want to see in front of me when I imagine a streusel-topped, berry-filled breakfast treat. This is exactly the type of cake that will make almond-phobes (no, really—those actually exist) do a complete 180 and finally come around to the realization that almond cakes are a delightful, delectable thing to behold.
Not surprisingly, this cake recipe hails from the great repertoire of Tartine, the bakery that satisfies all of my bakery dreams and needs. (What? You don’t have bakery dreams and needs? Surely, I can’t be the only one who…okay, never mind—maybe I don’t want to know the answer to that) With a light almond flavor, a perfect, buttery crumb topping, and an almost hidden layer of berries baked into delicious secrecy inside, I can’t think of another coffee cake I’ve had that checks off all the delightful, delectable boxes that this one does.
And now I am going to stop talking, because you need to drop what you are doing and make this cake right now.
Berry Almond Breakfast Cake
Adapted from Tartine, by Elizabeth Prueitt
½ cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, slightly firmer than room temperature
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (3 ounces) almond meal or finely ground almonds
1/3 cup (about 2 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
pinch of salt
6 ounces of almond paste, or make your own almond paste by combining about ¾ of a cup (4 ounces) of blanched almonds with ½ cup (2 ounces) of powdered sugar and blending together in a food processor until the mixture becomes very fine and just starts to clump together
¾ cup (about 5 ¼ ounces) granulated sugar
¾ cup (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature.
1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons (7 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, at room temperature
½ pint (about 5 ½ ounces) fresh berries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour an 8-inch round cake pan.
To make the crumble topping, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on high speed until creamy. Add flour, almond meal, sugar, and salt and mix only until all of the ingredients are incorporated. You do not want a smooth mixture; it should still have a crumble appearance. If you overmix it, cover it and chill it for about 1 hour, and then break it into crumble-sized pieces. Place the topping aside.
To make the cake, place the almond paste (or your own almond and confectioners’ sugar mixture) in the large bowl of the mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until the paste is broken up. Add the granulated sugar and gradually increase the speed to medium. Continue to mix until there are no lumps. Add the butter and mix until creamy, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer as needed to scrape down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, add the flour, baking powder, salt, and eggs all at once, then increase the speed to medium and mix just until everything is combined. Do not overmix.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top with berries, distributing it evenly over the surface, and then add the crumble topping, scattering it evenly over the top of the berries. (At this point you can cover the assembled cake loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate it overnight. The next morning, remove the cake from the refrigerator and leave it out at room temperature for about 45 minutes before baking.)
Bake the cake until the crumble topping is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into a non-fruity part of the cake reveals a completely cooked, non-runny cake. Tartine’s cookbook says that this will take 40 minutes to accomplish, but my cake was not done until it had baked for 60 to 70 minutes (at 40 minutes the batter was still incredibly runny). My advice to you is to check the cake at 40 minutes, then, if it’s not done, continue to bake it, checking on it every 10 minutes or so to gauge its doneness.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. Serve the cake directly from the pan. You will not be able to reliably remove it without completely destroying the cake.
Serves 8 to 12 people.