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Almond Crunch & Chocolate Confetti Chiffon Cake

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Serves twelve to fourteen.

This light, airy cake is dotted with tiny bits of chocolate, with a wreath of crackly sugared almonds on top. The almond crunch will stay crunchy for several days.

For the almond crunch topping:
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1-1/4 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
For the cake:
  • 10 oz. (1-1/2 cups) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 9 oz. (2-1/4 cups) cake flour
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup canola or corn oil
  • 7 large eggs, separated
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. pure almond extract
  • 2 Tbs. almond-flavored liqueur, such as Amaretto (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
For the glaze:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 to 4 Tbs. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. pure almond extract (optional)
Make the almond crunch topping:

Heat the oven to 325°F. Have ready an ungreased nonstick baking sheet. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg white with a fork until foamy, about 30 seconds. Stir in the nuts until they’re evenly coated. Sprinkle the sugar over the nuts and stir the mixture. Spread the nuts in a single layer onto the baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes. Stir the nuts with a wooden spoon to loosen them from the baking sheet. Bake until golden, another 5 to 8 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and immediately stir them to loosen them from the baking sheet. The nuts will become crisp as they cool. Set aside.

Make the cake:

Heat the oven to 325°F. Have ready a 9-1/2- or 10-inch tube pan with sides at least 3-3/4 inches high.

In a food processor, pulse the chocolate chips until some of them are finely grated and the rest have formed small crumbs.

In a large bowl, sift together the cake flour, 1 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and the salt. Make a well in the center and put in the oil, egg yolks, water, vanilla, almond extract, and almond liqueur. Beat the mixture on medium speed until smooth and thick, at least 3 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large, clean bowl with clean beaters or whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and the cream of tartar on medium speed until the cream of tartar is dissolved and the whites are foamy. Increase the speed to high and beat the whites until the movement of the beaters forms lines in the mixture. Slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, about 2 Tbs. at a time, and beat the mixture until soft peaks form.

With a large rubber spatula, stir about one-third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. Pour the batter into the tube pan, spreading it evenly. Bake until you can gently press your fingers on top of the cake and it feels firm, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Any cracks that form on the top should look dry.

Invert the pan onto a bottle with a narrow neck and let cool thoroughly, about an hour and a half. Use a small, sharp knife to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and the center of the tube, if necessary. Remove the cake from the pan and slide it onto a serving plate.

Make the glaze:

In a small bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and almond extract, adding enough milk to make a smooth glaze with a thick, syrupy consistency. Set aside 2 Tbs. of the glaze. Spread the remaining glaze over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides of the cake and into the center hole; you may not need to use all of it. Cover the top of the cake with the prepared almonds. Drizzle the reserved glaze over the almonds.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on 14 servings; Calories (kcal): 460; Fat (g): fat g 21; Fat Calories (kcal): 190; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 5; Protein (g): protein g 8; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 64; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 4; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 140; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 105; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I have made this several times now and it always turns out wonderful! I make it for parties and have always had rave reviews! I usually tweek a recipe, but this is perfect as is! Great recipe.

Unfortunately, I'm not crazy about this recipe. When I read the recipe, I thought it would be a great idea to have chocolate in the cake. A few of the chocolate chips sank to the bottom of the pan and burned. However, almost all of the chips were scattered though out the cake. The cake was tender. The almond crunch topping was tasty. The glaze has almond extract as optional. I used almond extract and felt it was a bit too strong for this delicate cake. I just didn't think it tasted delicious like most of the Fine Cooking recipes. I'm sorry, I really hate to give a bad review.

I accidentally bought too many eggs and needed to use them up, so I found this recipe-- I think I may make a habit of buying too many eggs, because this cake is absolutely delicious. Not too sweet, but very tender and with a good chocolate taste, this recipe is great. I skipped the almond topping and just served the cake with strawberries and ice cream. One warning-- the recipe tells you to grind the chocolate into small pieces-- this is important, because the batter is thin (compared to more goopy cake batters). If the chocolate pieces are too large, they will fall to the bottom of the pan and cook in a single layer, then when you turn the cake over to cool, it will fall out of the pan. Luckily my cake was not over a wine bottle-- I have a vintage tube pan with feet on the top, from when my grandmother was a young bride and chiffon cakes were all the rage. Certainly they deserve a come-back!

First I liked the glaze, cake and crunch on their own. And when they were all assembled wow... just great!

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