I love almonds – they’re my favorite nut. But for far too long I avoided recipes that called for almond paste because I’ve never seen the ingredient around here. Then it suddenly hit me: if I made eggnog from scratch for a pound cake recipe, why not almond paste? I do not know why it took my brain so long to come to that conclusion. :)
The homemade almond paste – recipe from this gorgeous book – is smooth, delicious and can be kept in the freezer for a good while. And if you’re not convinced of making your own almond paste yet, take a look at this chocolate cake. ;)
Speaking of avoiding things, I’ve heard some people are avoiding "The Artist" because it’s: a) a silent movie, b) a b&w movie, c) a silent and b&w movie. I feel sorry for those people, really do. Because they’re missing a spectacular film, so beautifully made, with fantastic performances – I left the theater completely in love with both Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin – and a great story. Something I’d never seen before, so moving and entertaining at the same time. But what do I know, right? I’m just a girl who likes to bake (frangipane ripple) cakes. :)
Frangipane ripple chocolate pound cake
from the always delicious and never failing Baking for All Occasions
1/3 cup (33g) almond meal
½ cup almond paste – I used homemade, recipe follows
¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup (56g) unsalted butter, softened
260g cake flour*
¾ cup (68g) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
280g (10oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, room temperature
Make the frangipane: in a food processor, combine the almond meal, almond paste and sugar and process until well mixed. Add the egg and butter and process until smoothly blended. Cover and refrigerate while you make the cake batter.
Make the cake: preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F (160°C/325°F if the pan has a dark finish). Butter and flour a 10-cup capacity Bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until creamy and smooth. Gradually add the sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally. On medium speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla. On the lowest speed, add the flour mixture in three additions alternately with the milk in two additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl again.
Remove the frangipane from the refrigerator. Spoon about 2 cups of the cake batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly. Spoon half of the frangipane in dollops over the center of the batter, and then spread it over the cake batter avoiding the center tube and sides of the pan. Spoon about 1 ½ cups of the batter evenly over the filling. Spoon the remaining frangipane over the batter, spreading it evenly. Spread the remaining batter over the top and spread evenly.
Bake the cake for about 60 minutes or until risen, the top springs back when lightly touched and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 15-20 minutes, then carefully unmold onto the rack. Cool completely.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving, if desired.
* homemade cake flour: 1 cup (140g) all purpose flour minus 2 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons corn starch
Homemade almond paste
from the beautiful Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Traditions from Around the World
1 cup (100g) ground almonds
1/3 cup (46g) confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons (28g) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg white, lightly whisked
½ teaspoon almond or vanilla extract (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let paste come to room temperature before using it.
Makes ¾ cup dense, smooth paste