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[Photograph: @sstiavetti]

As much as I love fancy cakes, a lot of the time I prefer simpler recipes that aren't terribly high maintenance. A seven-layer chocolate blackout cake it awesome, but I'm happiest when you give me an unpretentious cake that I can throw together easily and still impress my dinner guests. Plus, traveling with a fancy cake is particularly annoying. Have you ever left the house with perfectly coifed icing, only to arrive at your destination with a cake covered in thumbprints and scrape marks? Not good.

If you're ever on the lookout for a versatile cake recipe, one that is just as comfortable at afternoon tea as it is following your mom's famous roast beef, then look no further than this lovely ginger-almond number. It is moist and fulfilling, offering a good bit of protein from a healthy dose of almonds and a touch of spicy mystery thanks to the addition of ginger. It's a delightfully rich cake with a tender crumb, one that keeps well for up to four days in an airtight container.

This almond cake is simple to throw together, involving very few dishes almost no elbow grease. The key to its texture is to not overmix the batter once you've added the flour, which will cause the sticky gluten within the wheat to tighten up and become overly dense.

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Quick Ginger-Almond Cake »

About the author: Stephanie Stiavetti is a writer and cookbook author in San Francisco. Stephanie's cookbook, Melt: the Art of Macaroni and Cheese, celebrates America's favorite dish by recreating it with small production, specialty cheeses. Her food blog, The Culinary Life, is a repository for all things comfort food related, from savory dinners to transcendental desserts.

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