Thursday, May 23, 2013

Single-layer Almond Cake

There have been some health issues going on with my husband's family which have necessitated spending a lot of time with our in-laws. And I've got to be part Jewish Grandmother or part Italian Grandmother, because deep inside of me there's a little old lady wearing an apron & holding a rolling pin, urging, "they're upset, feed them!"

Now, I don't have a lot of time (it's the middle of the work week), don't have a lot of energy (we're still pulling the overtime), and don't have a lot of ingredients (payday is a week away), so here's what we're going to do: we're going to make an easy little almond cake, courtesy of Averie Cooks.

If you regularly like to cook delicious things, you should have all of these ingredients already on hand, except possibly the half-bottle of almond extract.  If you find yourself running to the store anyway because you're out of diapers and spaghetti sauce, you may as well pick up a bottle of almond extract and give this a try. It's such an easy, tasty little dessert to whip up in 10 minutes, and it will leave your house smelling marvelous!


3/4 cup of butter (1½ sticks)
2 eggs, room temp
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
2 tablespoons of almond extract
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1½ cups of flour

3/4 cup of apricot or peach jam (half of a 14oz jar)
1/2 cup of cream cheese, softened (half of a brick)
Slivered almonds for scattering on top

*Note: ingredients list is for a single recipe; I made a double recipe.

1) Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
2) Melt the butter completely. (I nuked mine in 20 second increments, because I didn't want the butter exploding all over the microwave by going too fast.)
3) Let the butter cool a bit while you're preparing your cake pan. I tore off a sheet of wax paper, traced around the outside of my 9" cake pan and cut out the circle, sprayed the cake pan (bottom & sides) with PAM, placed the wax paper circle inside, and then PAM'd the paper.
4) With a whisk, whip up the first 6 ingredients together in a large bowl--that's everything but the flour. Whisk it for a while, until the mixture appears to rise a little bit and starts looking a little 'fluffy'. You're whipping up the eggs here, and that's how the cake gets its lift.
5) Gently fold in the flour using a spatula, until the flour is just mixed in. You're trying not to deflate the eggs.
6) Pour it into your pan & bake it for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are a little tan and the top is firm to the touch.
7) Allow the cake to cool in the pan for about 15-20 minutes. Once the pan is handle-able, turn the cake out onto a cooling rack. I ran a butter knife around the edge and the cake just popped out.
8) Once the cake is cooled down, mix together the topping and spread it over the cake; a small offset icing spatula is really handy here. Scatter a handful of almonds on top for crunch.
9) Spread any remaining topping on toast and eat it immediately because toast is delicious.

If you've ever wondered what kind of cake people used to eat centuries ago, this was it. No baking powder or baking soda, so it's dense & chewy instead of light & fluffy, and no sugary frostings or fillings. But it's still quite good!  I can see adapting this recipe for, say, lemon poppyseed cake.

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