Categories
Recipes

Almond Cake

Want a dessert that will help you hang onto that “summery” feeling without needing fresh summer fruit?

I’ve never used almond paste before, so I was very confused when the recipe called for a food processor. Apparently almond paste is more solid than pasty – who knew? In any event, the cake came together pretty quickly since I had everything called for on hand. Added bonus: you don’t need to make any frosting. The filling is just jam and the topping just powdered sugar. Genius, I say! For once, a cake that doesn’t require any real extra work once it’s is in the oven.

The hardest thing about this recipe was trying to decide which fruit preserve to use in the middle (I decided to go with raspberry – not just any raspberry but my favorite raspberry jam, conveniently named ‘Favorit’ :) ). Please learn from my mistakes – while raspberry was a great choice, make sure you choose something seedless. It was a bit jarring to go from biting into a soft, sweet cake into hard raspberry seeds. It is a mistake I will not be making again.

The batter is pretty thick but the cake comes out light and sweet, with a definite depth of almond flavor added by the almond paste. The sugar gives it a sweet, brown crust which softens a bit by day 2, but I liked the flavor and texture it added to the cake. Like most butter cakes it gets dry when it’s cold, so make sure you serve it at room temperature.

Almond Cake with Fruit Preserves

Required hardware: Food processor, Mixer, 8″ cake pan

  • 4 oz almond paste
  • 3/4 C sugar
  • 2 sticks (8 oz)  unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 C cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 rounded cup fruit preserves
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and grease an 8-inch cake pan.
  2. Combine the almond paste and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until no visible lumps of almond paste remain.
  3. Place the almond paste mixture in the bowl of a tabletop mixer with the butter and vanilla extract. Cream with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then return the mixer back to medium speed,
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time. Wait until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Scrape down sides of the bowl again, and add about half of the flour mixture. Mix on low, then turn the mixer back up to medium speed once the flour is mixed in. Let mix for about 1 minute, until the mixture is light and fluffy again. Repeat with the second half of the flour mixture.
  7. Scrape the batter into prepared pan and place the pan on a baking sheet.
  8. Bake on the baking sheet in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes without opening the oven. After 40 minutes, rotate the pan and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the cake is golden brown.
  9. Let the cake cool to room temperature on a cooling rack, then turn it out of the pan. Slice the cake in half horizontally (I used this neat little gadget). Spread the jam on the bottom layer and place the top half of the cake back on top. Dust cake with powdered sugar.

[Adapted from Karen DeMasco]

Categories
Recipes

Snickerdoodle Blondies

The holidays are sneaking up on us faster than I’m ready for. October is already over and next thing you know Thanksgiving will be gone, too. Now is the time I need to plan my Christmas cookies… every year I usually give those I like best a giant box of baked goods. I guess that’s the downside of me liking you, you’re bound to gain a few pounds…

Snickerdoodles have always been one of my favorite holiday cookies, but they are a bit more labor intensive than I’d like.

These blondies differ from traditional snickerdoodles in a number of ways, which make them both easier and more delicious than your usual snickerdoodle. First off, where a normal snickerdoodle is just a sugar cookie rolled in cinnamon sugar, these have the cinnamon flavor permeating throughout the entire base PLUS the cinnamon-sugar coating. Second, they are bars. That means you don’t have to chill, scoop, or roll them. Just smoosh them into a 9×13 pan and you’re good to go.

These snickerdoodle blondies have been in my Christmas Cookie care packages the past two years running, but BF complains that I should make them all year long. It’s just not fair that I only break them out for Christmas. So when BF’s cute little niece came over the other weekend requesting snickerdoodles, I took that as an opportunity to break this recipe out. I don’t think Boyfriend ate a single one, poor thing.

You can see by the slightly cakey texture that these ended up with a bit too much flour in them. It’s amazing what a difference just a little extra flour makes, but these things happen when you have a young apprentice in your kitchen. Luckily, the blondies still tasted great – and that’s the important part. So if you worried that adding too much flour would be the end of the world, don’t be. But if you want the more dense blondie texture for your snickerdoodles, be sure to “scoop and sweep” your flour. :)

 The texture is usually more dense, like this
Pardon the poor picture quality as it was taken during christmas baking with a cell phone… 2  years ago…  🙂

Perhaps I can add new pictures next time I make this recipe (in December…)

Snickerdoodle Blondies

For Blondies:

  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For Topping:

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • a pinch nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch pan with foil or parchment – this will make cutting and removing your blondies inifinity easier.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix the remaining cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg; set aside.
  3. In large bowl, beat together butter and brown sugar for 3-5 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, and beat until smooth.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended.
  5. Spread evenly in prepared pan* and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake 25-30 minutes or until surface springs back when gently pressed. Cool before cutting.

[ Adapted from MBA ]