Monday, June 4, 2012

Almond Cake with Raspberries

Last February, when it was time to make SP's birthday cake, I wanted something different, something with a flavor more to SP's taste than mine. I decided I wanted to bake an almond cake. I searched and searched, but I just wasn't inspired by many of the recipes I found. Of the few that did inspire me, we didn't have a key ingredient in the pantry (usually it was almond paste). I don't recall seeing too many recipes that used almond extract, which is always in our pantry. If a recipe did use almond extract, then there was another problematic ingredient. I gave up on almond cake.
Then last week, I saw an Almond Cake with Blueberry Compote at Baking Bites. It didn't call for almond paste. Just vanilla and almond extracts. It was a recipe for one layer of cake, good for us because a two layer cake often proves way too big for us to finish in a week. And it was topped with a fruit compote - SP loves fruit. I thought about saving it until next February and making it for his 'surprise birthday cake,' but I couldn't stop thinking about it, plus, it's summer, which is when I crave desserts with fruits.
The cake batter is mixed in the food processor. It very simple and fast. I measured and greased/lined the pan, SP food processor-ed, and before we knew it, the house was filled with a lovely almond cake scent. We baked ours for about 2-3 minutes longer than the recipe suggests.
Instead of blueberry compote, we decided on a raspberry compote. I thought it would be a tasty combination and remind us of our wedding cake, which had almond cake layers (and chocolate cake layers) with a raspberry buttercream in between layers (and chocolate between other layers). We made the compote on the stove top. The recipe:

18 ounces raspberries (we bought 2 (12 ounce) packages at Costco)
juice and zest from half a lemon
cornstarch to thicken to your liking
sugar to sweeten to your taste

The cake was so moist and almondy. Dense but not too dense. Not too crumbly and it baked through nicely - not like the cake we baked that got too browned on the edges and sank in the middle and then crumbled everywhere when you tried to get a forkful.

As Baking Bites writes, this cake is very versatile. It could be served with any fruit compote, or with a chocolate topping, or simply sprinkled with powdered sugar, or topped with whipped cream, or just plain. Plus, it's super easy to make.

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