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Almond Cake with Brandy Syrup and Chocolate Ganache

A rich brandy syrup poured over the warm cake adds a boozy burst of flavor, while the chocolate sings of pure decadence.



8 oz. Marcona almonds

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup flour

4 large eggs, room temperature

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup buttermilk

2 tsp. lemon zest

Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg



1 cup brandy

1/2 cup sugar



8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, grated

4 oz. heavy cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut and place parchment paper in the bottom of a 9-inch pan.


Put the almonds and sugar in a food processor and grind into the flour; don’t let the dough overheat or turn to almond butter.


Whip the eggs until light and pale. Mix the oil and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour, then half of the oil mixture, remaining flour and remaining oil. Add the zest and spice. Pour into the pan and bake 25-30 minutes until the cake tests done.


To make the syrup, heat the brandy and sugar until the sugar completely dissolves. While the cake is still warm from the oven, pour the syrup over the top, and let it absorb all of the syrup while the cake cools completely.


To prepare the ganache, place the grated chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour slowly over the chocolate while stirring. If the chocolate doesn’t melt completely, gently place the bowl over a simmering pot of water.


Once the cake has cooled, remove it from the pan and cover with warm ganache.


Serves 8-10


Reprinted with permission from Portland Oregon Chef’s Table by Laurie Wolf. Published by Globe Pequot Press, 2012.




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