Sticky Chewy Messy Gooey, by Jill O’Conner
I recently tried making my first homemade almond milk. The almonds I bought wanted nothing to do with becoming nakey, however, even after soaking them for a full 48 hours. I had to peel the skins off like too-fresh boiled eggs. It took forever, but the almond milk itself was a delicious success. Until I ruined it with too much honey. Typical. Note to self: measure next time, and use simple syrup.
Anyway, I kept the leftover almond meal in the fridge with the ultimate goal of finding something yummy to bake it into. Then, last night karma was kind. My friend and I were looking for something yummy to make for dessert, so I pulled this cookbook off the shelf and we started drooling through the recipes. Imagine my delight when I turned to the recipe for Almond Brown Sugar Pound Cake, AND I had all the ingredients!
This morning, after saying good morning to my little plant babies in the garden, I assembled the ingredients and set to work.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted before measuring
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
…all got sifted together into a medium bowl and set aside. Then…
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
…were creamed together until whipped and fluffy. Then…
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons homemade vanilla extract
…were gradually added and whipped again until fluffy. Yes the double addition of vanilla is thoroughly decadent, but the recipe called for 1 tablespoon each of vanilla and almond extracts. I don’t have almond extract, and I didn’t want my cake to feel slighted in any way. And it IS homemade extract, after all. So there. Then…
6 eggs, at room temperature
…were added one at a time and each addition was mixed thoroughly for at least a minute. Then…
…I folded in the flour mixture by hand with a rubber spatula until all the almond flour was completely mixed in. I then poured the batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and baked in a preheated 325° oven for 65 minutes.
I let it cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then turned it out onto the rack. I used my doneness-testing-wooden-skewer to poke holes in the cake for the glaze. To make the glaze, I added…
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup water
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
…and 2 teaspoons homemade vanilla extract to a small saucepan. That part wasn’t in the original recipe, but what kind of butterscotch glaze doesn’t have vanilla in it? Seriously? The situation had to be remedied. (Yes, Jill O’Conner, there is such a thing as a vanillaholic.)
The recipe suggests boiling the glaze for about five minutes, but I like my glaze thicker, so it boiled for about 10 minutes.
I moved the cake from the rack over to its final resting place on my cake server. In retrospect, I’d have left it on the cooling rack and put parchment underneath it to catch the glaze as it poured over (then reuse the glaze). I had to use a silicone pastry brush to thoroughly glaze this lovely cake. It worked, but I think the other method would be less messy. On the other hand, I got to scoop the excess glaze off the edges of the cake server and give them the required taste testing.
Oh. my. goodness. This cake is amazing! I found the cake itself to be a tad sweet (not that that is a crime, by any means), but hubby disagreed. The butterscotch glaze is amazing, and I love the texture that the almond meal adds to the cake. I was also pleased to discover that this cake has that crunchy-sweet bottom that is essential to any good pound cake.
This will definitely be making routine appearances in our kitchen.