Almond Cake

Serves 10.

Note: This is a sturdy cake, perfect for transporting or mailing. The fine, sandy crust protects a rich, buttery middle that's formed after it poufs in the oven and then gloriously collapses. From Amanda Hesser in "Food52 Genius Desserts," by Kristen Miglore.

• 1 c. sour cream, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 2 c. sifted flour

• 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 c. unsalted butter, softened

• 1 1/2 c. sugar

• 1 (7-oz) tube almond paste

• 4 egg yolks, at room temperature

• 1 tsp. almond extract

• Powdered sugar, for dusting, optional

Directions

Heat oven to 350 degrees, with a rack in the center. Butter a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

Stir together the sour cream and baking soda in a small bowl (but not too small — the baking soda reacts with the acid in the sour cream, so it will start to puff up). Whisk together the flour and salt in a medium bowl.

In a food processor, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Crumble the almond paste into small pieces and add a few pieces at a time through the top, pulsing until the mixture is very smooth. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, pulsing until incorporated after each addition. Add the sour cream mixture and almond extract and pulse to combine.

With a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into a large bowl. Fold in the flour mixture just until the batter is smooth and no streaks of flour remain. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the cake shrinks from the sides of the pan and the top is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the pan on a rack.

When ready to serve, remove the sides of the pan, and slide the cake onto a cake plate or stand, peeling away the parchment. Sift powdered sugar over the top and serve in wedges. Store airtight, in or out of the refrigerator. The cake improves with age and can be made up to 2 weeks ahead.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 530 Fat 30 g Sodium 230 mg

Carbohydrates 62 g Saturated fat 15 g Total sugars 40 g

Protein 7 g Cholesterol 135 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 3 carb, ½ high-fat protein, 5 fat.

Skillet Cornbread With Pimento Cheese Frosting

Serves 12.

Note: If you can't find sorghum syrup (it's available online), skip that step or substitute molasses. From "Red Truck Bakery," by Brian Noyes.

• 12 bacon slices

• 1/4 c. sorghum syrup (see Note)

• 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Cornbread:

• Nonstick cooking spray

• 2 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted

• 1 c. cornmeal

• 2 tsp. baking powder

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 1 tsp. smoked paprika

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/2 c. sugar

• 15 tbsp. butter (1 stick plus 7 tbsp.), chilled and cubed

• 2 c. buttermilk, plus more for brushing

• 1/4 c. diced jarred roasted red peppers

• 1 1/2 tsp. finely chopped fresh chives

• 2 tsp. finely diced pickled jalapeños

• 1 c. fresh or thawed frozen corn

• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To make the bacon: Place a raised wire rack inside a rimmed baking sheet. Arrange the bacon on the rack, spacing the slices apart, and bake for 7 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sorghum syrup and black pepper. Remove the bacon from the oven and brush the sorghum mixture on both sides of only 4 slices of bacon. Return the pan to the oven and bake for w7 minutes more, until rich brown.

Let cool, then finely dice the sorghum-glazed bacon and set aside. Chop the regular bacon into 1/2-inch pieces and set aside separately. Leave the oven on.

To make the cornbread: Coat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, smoked paprika, kosher salt and sugar. Beat on low speed to incorporate. Add the butter and beat on low speed until broken down into pea-sized pieces. Add the buttermilk, roasted red peppers, chives, plain bacon, jalapeños and corn. Mix on medium speed to combine.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet. Brush the top with buttermilk and sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, turning the skillet halfway through, until golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool.

Meanwhile, make the frosting (see recipe). Spread the frosting evenly over the top of the cooled cornbread. Sprinkle with the sorghum-glazed bacon bits to finish.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 490 Fat 27 g Sodium 840 mg

Carbohydrates 51 g Saturated fat 16 g Total sugars 18 g

Protein 11 g Cholesterol 75 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 ½ starch, 2 carb, 1 high-fat protein, 3 ½ fat.

Pimento Cheese Frosting

Makes enough about 1 3/4 cup frosting.

Note: From "Red Truck Bakery," by Brian Noyes.

• 8 oz. cream cheese

• 1/2 c. grated Cheddar cheese

• 1/4 c. grated pepper Jack cheese

• 1 tbsp. buttermilk

• 2 tsp. pickled jalapeño brine (from the jar)

• 1 tsp. pepper jelly, optional

• 1 tsp. honey

• 1 tbsp. diced jarred roasted red peppers

• 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

• 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

• Cayenne pepper, to taste, optional

Directions

In a food processor or electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, Cheddar, pepper Jack cheese, buttermilk, jalapeño brine, pepper jelly, honey, roasted red peppers, kosher salt, smoked paprika and cayenne, and process until smooth.