baking beast

a suspicious creature has been lurking around the streets, leaving behind delights that dreams are made of. what's to become of this baking beast?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Golden Almond Cake

I had low-fat sour cream I didn't use from Christmas cooking and decided to put it to some use in a nice cake before my brother left for Japan! So, from his choices, comes a simple almond cake with a buttercream frosting. I tried to fight off the buttercream choice as I have only made it once before and I don't feel like it is that easy to do yet, but he was pretty adament about it and persisted until I agreed and made a recipe from Martha Stewart. :) The cake is from Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Cake Bible" and the frosting is from Martha's new Baking Handbook and also available on her website. It was originally almond buttercream but I substituted the almond extract for 1/4 tsp of Fiori di Sicilia flavoring I ordered from King Arthur Flour. It's like an orange dreamsicle all in a little flavoring oil..and it matched the almond cake really nicely. The texture of the almond cake was fantastic and was very flavorful. The buttercream was easy to make, which was nice considering how afraid of it I was! But it was the simple italian meringue kind, and not the classic French requiring whisking boiling sugar syrup into egg yolks, which I'm still afraid of since I screwed it up once. But! This was definitely a good step towards achieving buttercream mastery. The cake was light and refreshing and was enjoyed by all! :)

Golden Almond Cake

Orange Vanilla Buttercream

The Cake Put Together

A Simple Slice

Take a bite!

Golden Almond Cake
The Cake Bible

2 large eggs
2/3 cup (150 ml) sour cream
1 tsp (5 ml) almond extract
1/4 tsp (1 ml) vanilla
1-2/3 cups (400 ml) sifted cake flour
1/3 cup (80 ml) (finely ground) unblanched almonds
1 cup (225 ml) sugar
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 ml) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt
12 tbsp (175 ml) unsalted butter (must be softened)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 C.).
Grease one 9 inch cake pan, line bottom with waxed paper or parchment, and then grease again and dust with flour.
In medium bowl, lightly combine eggs, 1/4 of the sour cream and almond extract.
In large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and remaining sour cream.
Mix on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high if using hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes.
Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the egg mixture in 3 batches, beating 20 seconds after each addition. Scrape down sides.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth surface with spatula.
Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until wire cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.
Let cake cool in pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with small knife and unmold.
Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar, fresh fruit, or a light buttercream frosting.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Martha Stewart
Makes 2 cups

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/4 tsp fiori di sicilia flavoring (or 1/2 tsp extract of your choice)

1. In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer, combine egg whites and sugar. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly until the sugar has dissolved and whites are hot to the touch, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the bowl to the electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix on low speed, gradually increasing to high speed, until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 10 minutes.

3. With machine running on low speed, add butter to egg whites, beating until smooth. Add flavoring, and continue beating on low speed to get out the air bubbles.