I can't believe that I haven't written about this yet. I saw this recipe on Orangette while reading her archives and was extremely excited to make it. In fact, I bought a special pan for it. See:
And, let me tell you, this cake is totally worth a pan to call its own. It is amazing. I wanted to eat the whole thing. It was very lucky that I made this for the premier of Top Chef when we had friends over for a little shindig. Otherwise, I just might have indulged in much more than the one (two?) piece that I did. And I got to send a couple squares home with them too... to prevent further temptation.
This cake really is beautiful. Square and very moist with a snowy sprinkle of powdered sugar. I can't say enough good things. So I will leave you with the recipe and be done with it.
Pain de Gênes
adapted from Orangette
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 Tbs potato starch (available in the baking section of most supermarkets)
14 ounces soft, pliable almond paste broken into pieces
4 large eggs
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (but still liquid)
1 Tbs kirsch, Grand Marnier or some other good flavored liquor you have on hand
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter an 8-inch square pan (preferably metal, with nice, straight sides and corners), dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess, and put the pan on a baking sheet.
Sift the flour and potato starch together and set aside. Put the almond paste and two of the eggs in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed for five minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, remove paddle, and put whisk attachment in place. Return the mixer to medium speed and beat in the remaining two eggs one at a time. Once eggs are incorporated, beat the batter for another ten minutes, scraping down the bowl frequently, until the batter is creamy. It should remind you of mayonnaise.
Stir a couple of tablespoons of this batter into the cooled melted butter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the Grand Marnier, followed by the dry ingredients, mixing only until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the butter.
Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove cake from the oven, unmold onto a cooling rack, reinvert and cool to room temperature.
Dust powdered sugar (through a sieve or special powdered sugar shaker, if you have one) onto the top of the cake. Serve.