Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Almond Cake

One of my big concerns about our move has been the sale of our home.  
What if it didn't sell?
What if we had to drop the price drastically and take even more of a hit?  (since we built it at the peak of the market, we've lost quite bit of appraised value in six years.)
The agent warned us not to be discouraged if there weren't even any showings in December, since it's not a popular month for buying a home.....that with the market being what it is, not to be surprised if it took 3-6 months to sell.

So it was listed last Monday.  
On Friday, we had an offer. (!!!!)
Not a full price offer, mind you, but not a terrible one, either.  
We counter-offered, they accepted, and the papers were all signed on Saturday.  

Extra confirmation that we are doing exactly what God had planned for us.  Wow!

We put in an offer on a home here on Sunday - we're still in negotiations with it. It's a lovely home that Grant had his eye on for a couple of months - he even got to look through it when he came out here for his interview.  He fell in love with it and it's been his top choice all along.  I really like it too....I think it's a great choice for our family.  So we'll pray and see what happens!

So about this cake.

We don't celebrate Halloween.  In the past, we've just had a candlelight dinner with the kids and watched a movie - they LOVE doing something different like that.  But last year, Miranda was just 3 weeks old and a friend from church asked if she could bring us dinner that night.  We happily accepted and she brought us a huge "Thanksgiving"ish turkey feast and their family stayed and ate with us.  We had so much fun!

This year, she asked if we could do it again - and another family joined us as well.  We had a turkey potluck again - which was especially nice for us, since we didn't really get a Thanksgiving dinner this year.
I was in charge of desserts.  I made Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies - and this Almond Cake.

See, my precious friend sister Ellen was there....and almonds are one of her favorites.  She had given me a tube of almond paste to try out since I had never eaten it, and I wanted her to get to enjoy whatever I made.

This cake is very simple, like an almond pound cake really, but it's such a treat.  It's moist, rich, and dense, has a tender crumb, and a wonderful almond flavor.  It's actually great to make a day or two ahead of time, as the flavor develops over time and the cake maintains its lovely texture for several days.

You can serve it with berries and whipped cream, plain with the powdered sugar dusting, and it's also delicious with some Strawberry Freezer Jam drizzled over the top.

The most important thing to do in the baking of this cake is to really break up the almond paste as much as possible.  It's recommended to use a food processor, but since I don't have one, I used my Kitchenaid mixer and just beat it for about 10 minutes.  Large clumps of almond paste will decrease your chance of having a nice crumb in the cake - so you have to try to get the paste to about the consistency of sand.  Mine was still a little clumpy - a mixer can only do so much - but the cake turned out wonderfully, so I guess it was okay.

Note: You should use a 9 or 10" pan with at least 2" sides for this cake.  Standard layer cake pans will not be tall enough and the cake will probably overflow.  I used a 9" spring form pan with perfect results.  

Almond Cake (adapted slightly from David Lebovitz)

1-1/3 cups sugar
1 (7 ounce)  box almond paste (I used Odense brand)
1 cup flour, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cubed
1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Preheat oveo to 325°F.  Grease a 9 or 10 inch spring form pan with butter, dust it with flour, and tap out any excess.  Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor or a stand mixer, grind the sugar, almond paste, and 1/4 cup of flour until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture resembles sand.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 3/4 cup flour, baking powder, and salt.

Once the almond paste is completely broken up, add the cubes of butter and the vanilla and almond extracts, then beat until the batter is very smooth and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating a bit before the next addition.  Scrape down the sides as needed to make sure the eggs get fully incorporated.  After you add all the eggs, the mixture may look curdled.  Don't worry, it will come back together after the next step.

Add half the flour mixture and stir a few times - then add the rest, stirring until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.  Do not overmix!

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake the cake for 65 minutes, or until the top is deep brown and feels set when you press in the center.

Remove the cake from the oven and run a sharp or serrated knife around the perimeter, loosing the cake from the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan.

Once cool, tap the cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper, and set on a cake plate until ready to serve. (Tip: If necessary, warm the bottom of the cake pan directly on the stovetop for just a few seconds, which will help the cake release.)

Sift a little powdered sugar over the top before serving.

Storage:  This cake will keep for 4-5 days at room temperature, well wrapped.  It can also be frozen for up to two months.

Linked to Trick or Treat Tuesday and Crazy Sweet Tuesday


  1. WOW!!! Great News!! Hope you get the house =)
    and YES! I LOVED it!!!
    love your sister,

  2. That is such great news about your house selling that fast....God is definitely in control! I remember Grant talking about that house and it seemed perfect for you guys. I hope that everything works out with the offer!


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