I wanted to bake something festive for fall that was also sort of home-y because this is the first time I'm baking in my new place. This recipe is adapted from David Lebovitz (who got it from Luisa Weiss). I omitted the almond extract because I didn't have any on hand and added vanilla bean and some cinnamon. Served alone, this cake is almost more of a breakfast/coffee cake but if you wanted to serve it for dessert some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would be perfect.
7 ounces almond paste***
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
14 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp almond extract (optional)
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup + 3 T flour
9 T cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp vanilla extract
4 medium apples (I used a mix of tart and sweet)
1 lemon, zested
1/4 cup apricot jam (optional but recommended)
***The recipe calls for almond paste which might be tricky to find, I've had good and bad luck searching for it in grocery stores. I couldn't find some this time so after googling a recipe I realized it would be easier and cheaper to buy almond flour and make it myself. It worked pretty well in the cake so if you can't track down the paste try looking for almond flour instead. The link above makes more than twice what you need so either halve it or freeze what you don't use for next time (the recipe wants you to buy blanched almonds and grind them down- which is exactly what almond flour is).
Butter a 9-10 inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into two medium bowls. Peel and core the apples. Cut two of the apples into a medium dice and toss in one of the bowls with the lemon juice then cut the other two into 1/4 inch slices and toss.Below are a couple of videos where I demonstrate the easiest way to slice and dice the apples, check them out if you're unsure how! The lemon juice is to prevent the apples from oxidizing and turning brown. Set the apples aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're using a stand mixer, mix together the almond paste, sugar, vanilla and salt until the almond paste starts to crumble, about 4 minutes. If you're using a hand mixer, grate or cut up the almond paste so it can be incorporated into the sugar more easily. Mix into the sugar, salt and vanilla until the almond paste has crumbled up into a sandy texture.
Add in the melted butter, lemon zest and almond extract if you're using it. Mix until uniform then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing slowly so they get fully incorporated. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cornstarch, and cinnamon. Add it into the almond mixture 1/3 at a time. Using a spatula, gently fold it in. Add in the diced apples only along with any leftover lemon juice. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Place the sliced apples on top in a circular pattern and press in gently. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick or knife comes out clean (recipe says 70 minutes but it was closer to 90 for me). If the cake gets too brown before it's fully done, cover it with foil then return it to the oven. Cool completely before taking it out of the pan.
Optional: glaze the cake with apricot jam. This will keep the apples fresh and shiny as well as adding an extra bit of sweetness. Warm up some apricot jam in a saucepan until runny. You may have to mix in a few tablespoons of water. Using a brush or your fingers, glaze the top of the cake.