To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray with flour (see Tip); alternatively, coat the pans with regular cooking spray, line them with parchment paper and spray the paper.Advertisement
Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Place almonds in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add milk, oil and almond extract and pulse to combine.
Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Beat egg yolks and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until pale yellow and doubled in volume, 3 to 5 minutes.
Gently stir the almond mixture into the egg-yolk mixture with a rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture; gently stir until just incorporated. Stir about 1 cup of the whites into the batter until combined. Gently fold the remaining whites into the batter, using long, even strokes, until just incorporated and no white streaks remain. Divide the batter between the prepared pans; spread it to the edges and gently rap the pans against the counter once or twice to settle the batter.
Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert the layers onto the rack, remove the pans and parchment paper, if using, and let cool completely, about 45 minutes more.
To assemble cake: Place one layer, top-side down, on a serving plate; spread raspberry jam over it. Cover it with the second layer, top-side down. Sift confectioners' sugar over the cake. Decorate with raspberries, if desired.
Make Ahead Tip: Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 1 day. Garnish just before serving.
Cake-Baking Tips: When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.
Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.
To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container--a common mistake--the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.
Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68°F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get “cool” butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.
Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of undissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.
2 other carbohydrates, 1 fat