Serves: Makes 10 to 12 servings
- 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
- ½ cup (5 ounces) packed almond paste, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened (65° to 68°F)
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
- ²/³ cup (3¼ ounces) plus ⅓ cup (1¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1½ cups (6 ounces) dried apricots, preferably California or Blenheim, halved
- ½ cup (3 ounces) mini chocolate chips
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate (60 percent or less cacao), finely chopped
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy whipping cream
- 1½ tablespoons amaretto (almond liqueur)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly but thoroughly coat the pan with melted butter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray, then flour it and tap out any excess flour. (The almond paste makes this cake a bit sticky and it will adhere to any spots you have missed.)
- Make the batter: Beat the sugar and almond paste in the bowl of the stand mixer on medium speed until the almond paste is broken into tiny pieces, 2 to 3 minutes. You may also process the sugar and almond paste in a food processor and then transfer the mixture to a medium bowl to finish with a hand mixer. (If you try to blend the sugar and almond paste with a hand mixer alone, you'll have almond paste flying out of your mixing bowl.) Add the butter and continue to beat on medium until the mixture is very light-almost white-in color, about 5 minutes. If you're using a hand mixer, you'll need to beat the mixture a little longer to achieve the same results.
- Add the eggs: Beat the eggs in the small bowl to blend. With the mixer on medium speed, add the eggs about 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing each addition to completely blend in before adding the next. About halfway through, turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with the spatula, then continue adding the eggs. Add the amaretto and blend. Scrape down the bowl again.
- In the medium bowl, whisk together the ²/³ cup flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the batter and beat well. Place the remaining ⅓ cup flour and the dried apricots in the bowl of the food processor and process until the apricots are chopped into small pieces about the size of small peas or lentils (no smaller, or the pieces in contact with the pan will become very hard during baking). Add the apricots and the chocolate chips to the batter and blend well. Scrape down the bowl, making sure that any patches of flour or butter at the bottom are blended in. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake the cake for 40 to 45 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Transfer to a rack to cool until lukewarm. Set a small cooling rack on top of the pan, hold the pan and rack together, and flip over and set the rack on the counter. The cake should fall out of the pan. If it doesn't, tap it firmly against the rack. If it still doesn't come out, warm the pan briefly by moving it back and forth over a medium flame on the stove for 15 to 20 seconds. The cake should come out easily now. Set the rack with the cake on the rimmed baking sheet.
- Make the glaze: Place the chopped chocolate in the medium bowl. Heat the cream in the small saucepan just until it begins to boil. Immediately pour over the chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk gently until melted and blended completely. If you still have hard lumps of chocolate, set the bowl over simmering water and stir constantly until they melt-or heat in the microwave oven in 30-second bursts, stirring between each one, until melted. Add the amaretto and whisk to blend. Let the glaze cool slightly, until it is about 90°F and the thickness of honey.
- Glaze the cake: Spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Any excess glaze on the baking sheet can be scooped up and poured over the cake again (or refrigerated and warmed up on another day to use as a topping for ice cream). To serve, use the cake lifter or tart pan bottom to transfer the cake to a serving dish or cake cardboard. Cut the cake with the serrated knife using a gentle sawing motion.
Storing: The glazed cake holds well at room temperature for several days. Once it has been cut, keep it fresh by pressing a piece of plastic wrap against the cut edges.