Chez Panisse Almond Torte
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Some of you know my sister Lindsey. Some of you have only read about her here and thus only know about her penchant for crust-based dishes — pies and quiches in particular — and her love for Peeps and leftovers.
Let me tell you a little bit more. Lindsey, while a wonderful cook, doesn’t quite share the enthusiasm for cooking that many of the women in my family do.
She doesn’t go to bed with a full belly dreaming about what she might cook up tomorrow morning nor does she subscribe to a single cooking magazine; to her, nothing could be more boring than a tv program on cooking and a discussion about recipes might send her straight into another room; and she has been known on more than one occasion to exclaim:
“Why does everything have to be such a production?!”
The older I get, I tend to agree with this last statement more and more. It’s the simplest meals with the most minimal cleanups that leave everyone the happiest.
I should also note that Lindsey is a doctor, has two children, plays in an orchestra and is far too busy to spend time toiling in the kitchen. That said, a few days ago I called her and much to my surprise discovered she had been in the kitchen whipping up an almond torte in preparation for a few visitors.
“Little Lindis!” I exclaimed. (Yes, my sister is 32, and I still call her by her childhood nickname. We also still chase each other up the stairs and shriek in fear when we get together…that’s normal, right?) “I am so impressed.”
“Oh please,” she replied. “It’s so easy. It’s the only thing I make anymore.”
My sister (and the family as a result) has been making this torte since 1997, when she discovered the recipe in my mother’s copy of Chez Panisse Desserts, which is now in my possession. Truly, this almond torte, made entirely in the food processor, is one of the simplest and most delicious desserts you could ever prepare.
It’s definitely for almond/marzipan lovers and like the orange-and-olive oil cake and Teddy’s apple cake, tastes better with each passing day, so don’t be afraid to make it a day or two in advance if you’re preparing for a holiday gathering.
Dusted with powdered sugar, nothing will look more elegant on your dessert table. I hope all of your holiday preparations are going well.
I am not partial to any particular brand of almond paste, but if you can find a 7-oz box (which seems to be standard), that is ideal for this recipe:
This torte is made entirely in the food processor. First the almond paste and sugar are blended:
Up Next, the butter and vanilla are added:
Then the eggs are added one at time. This is what the finished batter looks like:Print
Chez Panisse Simple Almond Torte
- Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- Yield: 8 to 10
Adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts
Author Lindsey Shere’s notes: Serve this torte with a cup of coffee or tea or a glass of Sherry, or better, an Italian Aleatico or Passito. It is also good with sliced peaches or nectarines and crème anglaise.
Be sure to buy almond paste versus marzipan, which are often placed next to each other in the baking aisle. Second, the recipe in Chez Panisse Desserts calls for 8 oz. of almond paste, but we have always just used one of those tubes that usually weighs 7 oz. If you don’t have a scale and can’t find a 7-oz tube of almond paste, measure out the 7/8 cup, but don’t pack it too tightly.
- 1¼ cups sugar
- 7/8 cup (7 oz./200g) soft almond paste, see notes above
- 1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp. almond extract (optional)
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup (4.5 oz/130g) flour
- 1½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- powdered sugar for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Beat the sugar with the almond paste until the almond paste is in fine pieces. Or, better, pulverize it in a food processor. Beat in the butter and the vanilla, then cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the whole eggs, one at a time — the eggs should be at room temperature — beating well after each addition so the eggs are thoroughly mixed in.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, and beat in just until thoroughly blended.
- Butter a 9-inch springform pan and turn the batter into it, smoothing the top evenly. Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours (mine baked for 1¼ hours) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center feels springy when you push it gently.
- Let cool for about 20 minutes before releasing the sides of the springform pan.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: American/French
Keywords: almond, torte, chez, panisse, food processor, simple, holidays, Christmas
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
266 Comments on “Chez Panisse Almond Torte”
Wooow this was absolutely amazing. The most moist cake/torte I have ever made. But the almond taste and structure was so great. Really impressed. And I have baked a lot of cakes but this one stands out.
So happy to hear this, Lent!
I have been looking for the perfect, moist almond cake for a long time, and that search is definitely over! Not only is this insanely good, but also super easy. Thank you for the recipe share, the only problem will be not eating the whole thing myself! So good, so simple, I am sure I will be making this often.
Wonderful to hear, Tracey! And I know, I find it impossible not to slice off slivers of this cake continuously when it is around.
I would love to make this cake & have all the ingredients but I do not have a springform pan. Can this be made in a regular cake pan or will it be impossible to remove? Should I line with parchment paper?
Absolutely! Butter the pan. Cut a round of parchment and fit it in the bottom. I like to also butter the parchment again. I love this one! Thinking about making it for tomorrow, too 🙂
Oh my ever lovin’ goodness…
Thank you, Ali, for your email with links for No Fuss Desserts.
I just took my Chez Panisse Almond Torte out of the oven (and couldn’t resist taking a teensy bite!)
I made it today for our “QuarantEaster” dinner tomorrow–you did say it gets better and better each day!
Confession here…and I can just see Lindsey rolling her eyes and indeed saying
“Why does everything have to be such a production?!” because….
I blanched some almonds and made my own almond paste!
I already had a whole bag and it seemed such a waste to go buy paste at the grocer.
I boiled the almonds which took no time.
I popped the skins off which took…well…20 minutes?
That’s when I was envisioning Lindsey heaving a big sigh and saying “Whatever!”
You mentioned Lindsey is a doctor–hopefully she is well.
My spouse is a doc as well here in Seattle…so far we’re staying healthy!
Hunkered down in a high-rise condo (this weekend even the city parks are closed) with lots of time on my hands to continue learning from you (and Lindsey…and Alice Waters)
Robin, I love this all so much 😍😍😍 I am SO impressed you made almond paste from scratch. That is something I have been meaning to try my hand at. I’ve now added it to my quarantine to-do list. Thank you. Lindsey would have a panic attack just reading this 😂 And yes, she is a doctor, working outside of Philadelphia. She’s feeling a little anxious but mostly OK. She’s tough. Glad to hear you and your husband are staying healthy. I’m so glad you liked the almond torte. It’s a family favorite. Happy QuarantEaster! And thanks so much for your amazing comment 💕💕💕
Perfectly caramelized on the outside and otherwise moist and light- absolutely delicious!
Wonderful to hear this, Angela!
This recipe is my favorite when craving that wonderful almond flavor in a dessert…looks pretty and gets rave reviews!
Wonderful to hear this, Kathy!
What a terrific recipe! And such a beautiful result – which is why I’ll make it again & again (well, that along with the fact that my husband gave it 5 stars as well 👍!). I can never get enough almond flavoring, so I used almond extract instead of vanilla. It was fun to have this all come together in the food processor instead of using my stand mixer for a change. I served some strawberries alongside that had been macerated in some almond, but this cake didn’t need anything to go with it – it stands alone as a very flavorful dessert. Thank you!
So nice to hear this, Rebecca! Strawberries sound like the perfect match 💕💕💕💕
Will I be able to use an electric hand mixer for this recipe? Thanks! My cousin has made this for me before but with a stand mixer going to try to attempt to make it! But we only have an electric hand mixer!
Not sure … it’s worth a shot. The beauty of the food processor is that it really gets the almond paste into a fine texture … I worry you might have lumps with a hand mixer, especially since hand mixers often aren’t that powerful. But again, worth a shot!
Just looked it up on the Odense Almond Paste website, it can be done but will have to use a box grater to grate the almond paste before mixing with the sugar. Thanks!
Smart! Good luck!
I used a hand mixer…no problems what so ever!
Wonderful to hear this!
Hello! This sounds amazing! And the kind of cake I like to make!
My food processor is small. Is there any way to make this in the stand mixer? Or am I better off making 2 batches and then mixing?
Also, does the almond paste You use have sugar? The one I have does have sugar, I’m wondering if I should reduce the sugar in the recipe.
Hi Laura! I think you absolutely can use your stand mixer… a number of people have commented saying they have had success with even a handheld mixer, so a stand mixer will be great. My almond paste does have sugar. No need to reduce!
I love anything almond! This cake was amazing. We added a raspberry sauce on top of it. So, so good. Quick tip on the almond paste that i always use…shred it on a hand grater. Works perfect!
Oh I love this, Debbie! Such a great tip. Thank you. And raspberry sauce sounds amazing 💕💕💕
I wanted to make something special for my mom because she’s terminally ill (motor neuron disease). She loves almonds and this cake was wonderful and aromatic without being overwhelming (as scents can be for her). Thank you for sharing this recipe! Your photos are so helpful–I was worried my batter was on the thin side, but it looked like yours.
I made almond paste using Bob’s Red Mill almond flour–it was easy to whip up by hand, without a food processor! I cut the sugar down to a scant cup here and used my Kitchen Aid mixer. I could see a small lump of almond paste here and there in my batter, but it was fine once baked. Thank you again!
Oh my goodness, Anna, I’m sorry to hear about your mom. Truly my heart aches reading this. Sending you lots of love. So glad you liked this torte. I’m so impressed by your from-scratch almond paste. Nice work 💕💕💕💕💕
I’ve made this cake over 20 times. It has turned out perfectly every time. It’s easy to make and tastes fantastic. It’s the perfect hostess gift. It has graced many tables and there never leftovers. Friends who aren’t fans of cake, love this recipe.
Oh Richard, yay! It is so, so nice to hear this as this has been a family favorite for more years than I can remember. Thanks so much for writing!
I cut this recipe out of a high-end magazine to which I subscribed perhaps 15-20 years ago, stuck it in my “Family Binder” of recipes in the front pocket and recently found it. Was so excited to make it last week. Alas, the new container for my baking powder would not seal properly (I was unaware of this) and so my poor Almond Torte sank terribly in the center. I’ve never baked such a disaster. However, after trimming off the bottom, sides and tops, then slicing up really small pieces, our squirrels have enjoyed a feast placed on our high backyard fence. Next week will, I’m sure, bring the bake-up of a wonderful torte.
Oh no! Such a bummer. I’m sorry to hear this. Glad the squirrels are happy, however, and I hope next go around is a success 💕💕💕
I was wondering if I can make this recipe and split it into 4 ramekins?
If yes, how long should I bake them for?
Thank you in advance,
Hi! I worry that 4 ramekins won’t be enough … what size are your ramekins? I would simply fill them up half or 3/4 way. Try baking for 25-30 minutes but checking at around 20 minutes to gauge how quickly they are cooking.
I’ve made this recipe nearly half a dozen times because it is insta-comfort fuel in our crazy pandemic year. Everyone who tries this cake goes for at least 2 slices or more a day. It is perfection every time!
So wonderful to hear this, Shawn! Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
I would love to make this recipe. How can I substitute 6 eggs? I do not eat or use eggs.
Honestly, because there are so many eggs in this recipe I might suggest trying a different recipe that calls for fewer eggs and which might be easier to make a substitution for.
But here are a few ideas: replace the 6 eggs with 1.5 cups unsweetened applesauce. Or you could try 1.5 cups mashed banana, keeping in mind there will be a slight banana-y flavor. You could also try a commercial egg replacer such as Ener-G.
This was fantastic! I made it gluten free using Montana Gluten Free organic cup for cup flour- and this could not have been easier or tasted better! Thanks for sharing it!
Wow, amazing! Great to hear! This is such a staple around here for the holidays. Great to hear it worked with gluten-free flour.
Have you tried this with homemade almond paste? I have a few recipes for making my own paste and am wondering if I could use it. Thanks Ali
I personally have not, but a few commenters have with great success. I can’t imagine this cake would be anything but more delicious when made with homemade almond paste. Go for it!
One of my favorites!
Question: Do we sprinkle the powdered sugar immediately after we remove the torte from the oven or wait after it cools for 20mins?
Hi Khai! I would let it cool. Sometimes, too, on subsequent days, I’ll re-dust with powdered sugar before serving.
This was so light and moist. A nice break from the richness of typical holiday desserts. I didn’t have almond paste so I researched and found a recipe using pantry items. I made the paste in the food processor first using a base of almond flour then continued on with the rest of the recipe. Low effort for high reward which we can all use in this trying year.
So great to hear this, Carla. I am feeling so inspired by your comment and others to give this cake a try with homemade almond paste. I bet it’s all the more delicious. And yes to low effort high reward baking … the best kind of baking 🙂 🙂 🙂
OMG is this cake delicious! Thank you for the recipe; I will definitely make it again. I had a bunch of homemade almond paste left over after making marzipan for another recipe, so I was delighted to find your recipe with a simple internet search. I started out in my food processor with the almond paste and sugar, but soon realized the machine was going to be too small to hold the rest of the ingredients. So I transferred everything from that point to a sturdy stand mixer. It worked just fine. Because I like not-too-sweet desserts, I cut the sugar back to just one cup. Yummy Yummy!!
So nice to hear this, Arthur! I have yet to try this recipe with homemade almond paste but a number of recent comments here are encouraging me to give it a try. Great to hear it tastes great with less sugar as well. Thanks so much for writing!
Wow, this is the yummyest cake I’ve ever made! I am definitely making this delightful recipe again. I read through the comments and used a couple of the suggestions, and used more of the almond extract and less of the vanilla. And topped with sliced almonds. No regrets. So moist and delicious! Thank you!
Wonderful to hear this, Charlynn! All of your changes sound lovely. Thanks so much for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
Hi. Novice cook here, but I love all things almond. This recipes looks amazing and relatively easy. I don’t have a food processor. Would a ninja blender work instead? Thanks
Gerald, hi! Possibly — how much can it hold? I worry about the volume of ingredients causing stress on your machine. Maybe consider doing it in two batches, and then mixing by hand in a larger bowl to combine everything?
Wow. Excellent. Taller and lighter than expected. A delight. Fine textured and airy despite the two sticks of butter. II skipped the almond extract. And you do need the food processor to mix the sugar and almond paste.
So nice to hear this, Regine 🙂 🙂 🙂 Thanks so much for writing.
The best cake!
So nice to hear this, Leslie! Thanks for writing 🙂 🙂 🙂
I just made the torte to take with us in our RV for a quarantine-away-from-home New Year’s weekend in our home on wheels! How is this torte stored? It just came out of the oven, so its cooling. We don’t leave until tomorrow and probably won’t be eating the torte as our January 1st dessert!
Hi Laurie! Sorry for the delay here. I would store it in an airtight bag or vessel. A large or Xlarge ziplock (2 gallon) or cake carrier like this one or simply foil if you don’t have either of the two.
Hello I tried making an almond lemon cake yesterday that didn’t turn out as lovely as this one looks. Just wondering do you think I could replace the flour with almond flour. Happy new year
Hi Diane! I worry almond flour will make for a very dense cake. It has no gluten, so I wouldn’t replace it one for one. If you are looking for a cake with a lot of almond flour in it, this cake might work for you: Ottolenghi’s Lemon-Semolina Cake
Thank you, I saw later in a post a baker used GF flour, do you believe 1/4-1/8- tps xanthan gum should also be added? Love your work, thank you.
Hi Diane! Some gluten-free flour mixes already have xanthan gum in them, so you shouldn’t need to add any extra. If you are asking if you can use almond flour + xanthan gum, I don’t think that will be enough … gluten-free baking is a bit of a science I haven’t really mastered.
Hi! I’m so excited to make this for my mom for her birthday but I’m trying to make it into a layered cake.
If I use two spring form pans, how long should I bake for?
Hi Lena! I would start checking at 25 minutes … it might need more time, but I think that’s the right time to start checking.
I followed the recipe verbatim and it turned out pretty dense yet moist. I imagine it’s not supposed to be dense, but I fully blame it on the fact that I’m 7,200 ft up and even “high altitude” suggestions are generally in terms of Denver-type altitudes. It actually made a sort of sponge/cornbread texture that, when I poured cream over, soaked it up beautifully and tasted so good, even if it wasn’t what I expected. As a poor college student I can’t often splurge for almond paste but will definitely keep making and experimenting with it at high altitude!
So great to hear this, Flo! Love the idea of pouring cream over top. The texture of this cake actually is a little dense … not super dense but it has a nice moist texture. Good luck with the high-altitude experiments.
Absolutely incredible! So easy and my 5 year old adored making it with me!
Great to hear this, Abby! Love that your 5-yr old was able to help. So sweet 💕