Last week's recipe for the Heavenly Cake Bakers was the Catalan Salt Pinch Cake. With my friend's birthday around the corner, who happens to LOVE almonds, I thought this would be the perfect cake for her.
One of the things that surprised me, was that this recipe didn't call for salt, especially given the cake's name :o) So I added a large pinch of salt. I also omitted the lemon zest and added vanilla and almond flavoring instead, as some of the HCB-ers mentioned that the almond flavor was too subtle so.
Given the “lack of volume”-issue reported by some, I decided to make the batter a different way to ensure as much volume as possible. Using the au-bain-marie method, I heated the whole eggs plus the majority of the sugar (reserving some for the almond-grinding part and some for the egg whites). The heating process ensured that the sugar was fully dissolved in the eggs. After the mixture was warm, I attached the whisk attachment to my KitchenAid mixer and let it run until the batter was pale and thick. After mixing in the beaten egg whites, finely ground almonds, and the cake flour together, I poured the batter into my pan and was pleased that it came almost to the top of the pan. After about 10 minutes of baking, I was pleased that the cake had risen a little bit. About 15 minutes later, I opened the oven door, just to find that the cake had sunk quite a bit, creating a pretty big crater :o( Oh well.
I cut off the edges, to make the cake even. We tasted the scraps. Hubby and I liked it. My friend, the birthday girl, and her kids loved the cake. The cake's texture was a bit coarser than I would have liked, but I guess that's normal given the ground almonds in the batter. I'll have to try this cake again and follow Rose's instructions to the T and see if that helps reduce the "crater"-issue :o)
Here are step-by-step pictures of my "adventure":