These moist little cakes get their oversized flavor from almond extract, almond paste and a garnish of toasted almonds. The vibrant and fruity raspberry sauce that accompanies them incorporates almond liqueur, making the sauce the ideal complement. A regular muffin pan is just the right size for these cakes; make sure to fill the empty cups with water so the cakes bake evenly and the pan doesn’t warp or scorch.
3 tablespoons whole milk
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted cake flour
3 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons almond paste
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted*
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
1 1/2 cups frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon amaretto or dash almond extract
1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour 3 muffin cups (about 1/2-cup capacity), tapping out excess flour. Line bottoms with parchment paper.
2. In small bowl, whisk together milk, egg yolk, vanilla and almond extract. In another small bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt until well-blended.
3. Crumble almond paste into food processor; add 1/3 cup sugar. Pulse 30 seconds or until well-blended. Add butter; process 20 seconds or until blended. Add milk mixture; process 10 seconds or until blended. Add flour mixture; pulse 7 times or until just blended. (Batter also can be made using hand mixer.)
4. Arrange toasted almonds in bottoms of 3 floured muffin cups; fill cups three-fourths full. Pour about 1/2 inch water into unfilled muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Carefully pour out water . Cool cakes in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen edges with sharp knife; carefully invert cakes onto wire rack. Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
6. Meanwhile, press raspberries through fine strainer placed over small bowl; scrape off pulp from bottom of strainer and add to bowl. Discard seeds. Stir in 2 tablespoons sugar until dissolved. Stir in amaretto. (Sauce can be made up to 1 week ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Drizzle sauce over individual plates; top with cake.
TIP *To toast almonds, place on baking sheet; bake at 350°F. for 6 to 9 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool.
PER SERVING: 435 calories, 15 g total fat (6 g saturated fat), 6.5 g protein, 71.5 g carbohydrate, 90 mg cholesterol, 145 mg sodium, 4 g fiber