There is a certain amount of joy you get when you travel. Whether it is for business or pleasure, alone or with company, I always enjoyed my time away from the city. I think some of the most memorable meals I’ve had have been in foreign countries. Not to say they were all good, just memorable. My kids travel and they have developed this same sense of adventure with food as I have. Last year my daughter came back from Portugal and craved Portuguese Egg Tarts – “dad, can you make them?” Can I make them?! Is there water in Lake Ontario?! So I made them (recipe is on the site).

So whenever I come across a good recipe from another country, I must try it. This particular one comes from a site called I love the texture of this cake. It reminded me of a Tres Leche cake in that you pour syrup (no leche in this cake) over the almond covered baked cake, then broil it to toast the almonds. I will admit that the almonds do make it a bit difficult to cut, but this has such a nice moist decadent texture, it didn’t matter. Use good quality almond extract please, no imitation flavors – ever. It doesn’t take long to make and best of all, no mixer required. Just a tiny bit of elbow grease. The batter is loose and it isn’t more than 1″ high after baking. You could double it, change the baking time and have a higher cake, but a cake this rich, calls for a small piece, so try the recipe as presented.

The origins of this cake are from Albufeira, Portugal, and it is now on my list of places to go (some people chase storms, I chase great food!). Try this cake, it’s light and decadent, rich, flavorful and satisfying. You can cut back on the sugar in the syrup (not the cake) if you like, but it isn’t sweet, just delicious. As always – enjoy!

For the cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
½ cup buttermilk (I made this using a 50/50 split of 1% milk and 35% cream, mixed with 1/2 tbsp. vinegar, let it sit for 5 minutes and voila – buttermilk. Although, nothing beats the taste of authentic buttermilk)
½ tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup Churn 84, melted
½ cup sliced almonds

For the syrup
¾ cup granulated sugar
6 tbsp. water
½ tsp. almond extract

Preheat oven to 350f
Line the bottom of a 9” spring form pan with parchment, butter the sides
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
In a medium sized bowl, whisk the egg, buttermilk and vanilla extract until smooth
Stir in the melted butter
Stir in the flour mixture (I checked a number of sources, they all say stir with a wooden spoon)
Pour into the prepared pan – bake 30 – 35 minutes – it’s a rather thin cake so check at 25 minutes please

While the cake is cooling, make the topping
Heat 3/4 cup sugar with the 6 tbsps. water and bring to a boil, allow the sugar to melt – don’t stir it
When all the sugar has melted, remove from the heat and add the almond extract (watch for sputtering) and stir – let cool slightly, the cake will absorb the syrup better if the syrup is warm
Sprinkle evenly with the almonds
Pour the warm syrup slowly over the entire cake
Place the cake under the broiler and watch it closely – about 1 minute or so at 500f turns it a nice golden brown, any more and it will burn – do not leave this unattended!
Let cool before slicing and keep the cake covered to retain that delicious moist texture
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