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For a reliably moist cake, the French use plenty of almonds and rum

French Almond-Rum Cake (Gâteau Nantais)

3¼ hours 25 minutes active

French Almond-Rum Cake (Gâteau Nantais)

Gâteau Nantais originated in Nantes in western France. Made with generous amounts of butter, eggs and almond flour, the cake’s crumb is rich, moist and pleasantly dense, and becomes even more so after it’s brushed with a rum syrup. The classic finish is a rum icing, but with rum already in both the cake and syrup, we opted instead for a bracing lemon glaze that brings out the lemon zest in the cake, and a sprinkle of toasted sliced almonds. You can serve the cake as soon as the glaze sets, but its flavor and texture improve if allowed to rest overnight at room temperature. If storing for longer, cover and refrigerate (up to three days), but bring to room temperature before serving. If you have a dark, non-stick cake pan—which transfers heat more quickly than lighter aluminum—reduce the temperature to 325°F and bake for the same time.

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