Saturday, March 22, 2008

Almond Pound Cake

Happy Almost Easter!

We are spending tomorrow in Massachusetts with Trevor's family. I have been preemptively volunteered to bring dessert by Trevor. So yesterday I went to the store, picked up a few supplies and got to work because it's always good to be prepared. Usually I wait until the night before to start baking, but I had an unusual craving for Almond Cake and the best recipe I could dig up was for an Almond Pound Cake. Having never made this rich in flavor, yet light in texture cake before I read like 80 thousand reviews and almost all of them said that the cake tastes better 1-2 days after baking when all the flavors meld and develop. Who am I to argue with that? And the fact is I haven't posted a recipe in ages so here goes...

Almond Pound Cake
2 Sticks of butter (at room temperature)
2 3/4 cups Sugar
1 cup Sour Cream
6 Eggs
2 tbs Almond Extract
1 tbs Vanilla Extract

3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Baking Soda

Preheat oven to 325 F. Cream together butter and sugar. I then mixed in the sour cream. Mix in eggs one at a time until well blended. I'd say I kept my hand mixer running for at least 8 minutes so everything was a creamy and fluffy consistency. This is what determines the texture of your cake so it's really important to mix it well and not rush it. Then I mixed in the extracts. Sift the flour and baking soda together in a separate bowl. I did it 3 times because you want the flour to be light and unclumpy. And then gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet until just combined and you don't see white flour anymore. Do not over mix because you'll deflate all your hard work. You can pour into one gigantic bundt pan but for me it filled two 8" rounds. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until brown on top and the cake bounces back when you touch it. If it jiggles it's not done.

So I worked on it yesterday evening and since I made two cakes I cut into one immediately and it was heavenly. I also pricked my cake with a fork a number of times and drizzled a few tablespoons of diluted Amaretto and sugar on top. Oh, and I sprang for the authentic almond extract and it really shows. The aroma is rich and full of depth. Unlike most cakes, pound cake is so rich in flavor you don't need to mask it with tons of frosting or sticky sweet glazes. It's fantastic just on its own, dusted with powdered sugar or served with some fresh fruit on the side and some whipped cream.

It's definitely a keeper. I almost never make cake from scratch but for family I almost feel obliged to because for special occasions you should always share with them your very best. In real life I'm more apt to make a cake from the box and substitute out the oil with apple sauce in an attempt at being slightly more healthy.