Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almond Cake with Berries

It rained a lot yesterday.  That is not so terrible unless you have invited forty 8-9 year old boys to a swimming birthday party.  The mom, Leigh, kept a good sense of humor about it all.  She even sent out a video link to the parents deferring to the wisdom of Donna Summer and not allowing the rain (and hail) to deter her son’s celebration:

            Someone left the cake out in the rain
            I don’t think that I can take it
            ‘Cause it took so long to bake it
            And I’ll never have that recipe again

Fear not – the recipe will stay posted on The Baker’s Mann but I offer no warranties about the quality or taste of the cake should you leave it out in the rain.

Thanks Uncle Willy for this recipe – a lovely alternative to a pound cake and a highlight of the fresh fruits of the season!


For cake:
Almond Cake with Berries
1.      ½ cup all-purpose flour
2.      1 cup almonds (3 ½ - 4 oz)
3.      2/3 cup sugar
4.      4 large egg yolks
5.      3 tablespoons whole milk
6.      ¾ teaspoon vanilla
7.      ¼ teaspoon salt
8.      2 large egg whites

For berry syrup:
1.      1/3 cup water
2.      ¼ cup sugar
3.      1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4.      1/8 teaspoon almond extract (or Amaretto)
5.      3 cups berries (raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries – decide by taste preference and/or color combinations)

To make the cake:
Preheat oven to 400F.  Generously butter a 9 by 2 inch round cake pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Pulse almonds with 1/3 cup sugar in a food processor until finely ground.  Combine in bowl with egg yolks, flour, milk, vanilla, and salt (batter will be thick).  Beat whites with a pinch of salt and slowly add 1/3 cup sugar until whites hold stiff, glossy peaks.  Fold about 1/3 of whites into batter to lighten, then fold in remaining whites gently but thoroughly.  Pour batter into cake pan and bake until cake is springy to the touch and a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes.  Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then invert onto rack and cool 10 minutes.

To make the berry syrup:
Bring water and sugar to a boil in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Cool syrup 20 minutes, then stir in lemon juice and almond extract (Amaretto).  Gently stir in berries.

Arrange cake, right side up, on a plate and spoon berries over top, then slowly pour fruit syrup evenly over cake.  Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired.

Helpful hints: Dust with confectioners' sugar shortly before cutting and serving, as the berries will be "wet" and the sugar eventually will dissolve.  If the cake is not eaten the day it is prepared, refrigerate the remainder, as the berries (especially if sliced or cut) will spoil quickly if not refrigerated.

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