Monday, March 18, 2013

Almond Cake for Avalon

I offered to make a cake for Avalon's sixteenth birthday celebration. Our families have been friends since my daughter and Avalon were in kindergarten and they're big fans of my cooking, so naturally I love feeding them. We share a love of all things almond, so an almond cake it would be. 

A cake by David Lebovitz, blogger and baker extraordinaire, came right to the top of my Google search. I made some adjustments to his recipe (to accomodate a bundt pan) by increasing the almond paste, butter and dry ingredients by 50%, the sugar not quite as much, and using the same number of eggs. The result was a moist, delicious and not overly sweet cake. I drizzled an almond glaze over the top and sprinkled it with toasted almonds. We served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and when I tell you this cake was perfection, I'm not exaggerating.

Almond Cake for Avalon
Adapted from David Lebovitz's Almond Cake recipe
Serves 12 slices

12 oz / 310g almond paste
1 and 1/2 cups / 375g sugar
1 and 1/2 cups / 220g flour, plus 1/2 cup / 75g flour
12 ounces / 340g unsalted butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons almond extract
6 large eggs, room temperature

Mix the following ingredients in a food processor: sugar, almond paste and 1/2 cup of flour until combined and it looks like sand. Add butter and mix until well blended. Move this to a bowl, add the vanilla and almond extract and beat in the eggs, two at a time, using an electric mixer or whisk.

Add the remaining flour, baking powder and salt to another bowl and mix well. Fold this into the wet batter until combined. Try not to over mix it. Place the batter in a greased and floured bundt pan. I like this swirl pan.

Bake in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour, or until it's set when pressed in the middle. It will be golden brown on top. If you insert a toothpick it will come out with just a little bit on crumb on it.

Almond Icing
2 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons of butter (softened at room temperature)
1/4 - 1/3 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix all ingredients together. Start with 1/4 cup of milk and add more, if needed, to thin the glaze. Pour over the cooled cake and sprinkle with toasted almonds. Allow icing to set, then dust with powered sugar before serving.

Nothing says happy birthday quite like the fontaine de célébration candles from Paul's in the UK. Let me know if you need one as I usually have a stash on hand. I think they're outlawed in this country which is such a shame.

 Happy sweet sixteen, Avalon. xx

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