3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (4 ounces) unblanched or blanched whole almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3 large eggs
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into several chunks and slightly softened
1 tablespoon kirsch (optional) (SEE NOTE)
1/3 cup (1.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the sides of the cake pan and line the bottom of it with a round of parchment paper.
Put the almonds, sugar, salt, and almond extract in the bowl of a food processor and process until the nuts are finely ground. Add in the eggs, butter, and kirsch, if using, and pulse until well blended. Add the flour and baking powder and pulse just until blended.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Bake until the cake is golden brown on top and a toothpick plunged into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on the rack.
Unmold the cake by sliding a slim knife or spatula around the cake to release the sides. Cover the pan with a plate and invert both. Remove the cake pan, peel off the parchment liner, and turn the cake right side up. Dust lightly with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
CHEFS NOTE: Kirsch is a dry, clear brandy distilled from black morello cherry juice and pits and infused with their aroma and taste. Made in Germany, France and Switzerland, kirsch is colorless because it is not aged in wood. Most prominently known as a flavorful addition to fondue and cherries jubilee.