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Brown Butter Flourless Almond Cake

This Flourless Almond cake is perfumed with rum, vanilla and fresh orange zest. Brown butter adds another layer of flavor and a little richness. This cake is so light it simply melts in your mouth.

a partially slice flourless almond cake on a wood cake stand

How to make a great Flourless Almond Cake without chocolate:

You’ve probably seen flourless cake recipes before. Chances are, those were Chocolate Flourless Cakes. You don’t see as many non-chocolate versions of flourless cake because they are a little more difficult to pull off. Why?

Chocolate has cocoa solids which include some protein. The protein in the chocolate does a little of the structure building work that flour does in cake batter. Ground almonds also have protein and can work in a similar way.

Can we just remove the chocolate from a flourless cake without loosing the structure? Well, no. I tried it and it was a miserable failure.

Chocolate is acidic and that acidity helps set the eggs faster as the cake bakes. Without the help of flour, the eggs are doing most of the heavy lifting, structure wise. So they need all the help they can get.

So I added cream of tartar, an acidic ingredient, to this recipe to help set those eggs as the cake bakes. It is still a very, very tender cake. But in a very, very nice way.

I want to warn you that the cake will puff up in the oven and then it will settle quite a bit in the middle down as it cools. In fact, I thought I had another failure on my hands until I cut the cake.

When you slice into this cake you’ll find a beautifully light, tender and moist crumb that really does melt in your mouth. I like the rustic shape and crackled top of the cake. A little sprinkle of powdered sugar emphasizes the look.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Brown Butter Flourless Almond Cake:

a pot of browned butter
Cook the butter until the milk solids turn brown
showing a bowl of ribboned eggs
Whip the eggs with the sugar. The mix is ready when it forms a “ribbon” on the surface.
a whisk mixing browned butter into batter
Whisk the almond flour and brown butter into the egg mixture.
a slice of flourless almond cake on a plate

You might also like Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake and Brown Butter Almond Madeleines.

If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.

a slice of flourless almond cake on a plate

Brown Butter Flourless Almond Cake

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Flourless cake made with brown butter, ground almonds and perfumed with rum, vanilla and orange zest.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 oz, 196g) granulated sugar
  • 1 stick (4 oz, 112g) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • finely grated zest from 1 orange
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 oz, 168g) almond flour or finely ground almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch spring-form cake pan, or butter the pan and line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Set aside 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, cook until the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan and become brown. Drain the butter into a medium bowl, leaving the solids in the pan. Stir the rum, vanilla and orange zest into the brown butter and set aside.
  3. Put the eggs, 3/4 cup of sugar, cream of tarter and salt in a mixer bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don't let the bowl touch the water) and whisk until the eggs are slightly warmer than body temperature.
  4. Put the bowl onto the mixer and whisk until the eggs are tripled in volume and the color turns pale yellow. When the whisk is lifted it should leave a "ribbon" of eggs over the surface.
  5. Sprinkle half of the almond flour over the egg mixture and use a balloon whisk to fold, repeat with the remaining almond flour. Whisk 1 cup of the batter into the browned butter to lighten the butter. Fold the brown butter mixture back into the batter just until combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the reserved 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly across the top of the batter.
  1. Bake until the batter is set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few wet crumbs, about 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 10 minutes before releasing the sides of the spring form pan. The cake will settle quite a bit as it cools, forming a ridge around the edges and a crackled top.
  2. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Did you make this recipe?

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Judy

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Makes a good cake but without the WOW factor. I was expecting a more pronounced almond flavor (which I was looking forward to) so I was disappointed. Considering the different steps : Browning the butter, whipping the eggs, etc. I probably will not make this cake again.

Eileen Gray

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Ok. If you want a distinct almond flavor you can add a little almond extract. Ground almonds don't have a strong flavor.

Fatemah Rajah

Saturday 9th of May 2020

What could I use instead of the rum?

Paul Gardner

Friday 9th of October 2020

I just found your 7 lessons and baked a pound cake from your perfect pound cake recipe and it is the best I've baked. Thank you! Regarding this recipe, if it wasn't for the sugar, this would be perfect for those of us that are diabetic. Could you suggest a substitute for the sugar?

Eileen Gray

Saturday 9th of May 2020

Do you want an alcohol-free alternative, or just don't have rum. Another liquor would work. Without any liquor you can just omit it all together.