Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Almond and raisin cake

Almond and raisin cake / Bolo de amêndoa e passas

I love movies with strong female characters – you know I like them complex – and last week, besides Saoirse Ronan’s amazing Hanna, I got to know Jennifer Lawrence’s brave Ree. The fantastic “Winter’s Bone” is another example of the theory I wrote about a couple of posts ago: the story is perfectly told and directed, and the performances are excellent. Jennifer Lawrence, talented as hell, is the back bone of the movie but all the other actors (most of which, I’ve read, are from the area where the movie was shot and had never acted before) are great, too – John Hawkes, brilliant as Teardrop, makes me want to watch “Martha Marcy May Marlene” even more (as soon as it gets here).

Lately I have thought twice before recommending movies to people I know – because most of them turn to me later on to tell me how much they hated them – but I do not feel this way writing on the blog, maybe because those of you reading me for a while now already know the kind of movie I’m interested in. I’m not the romantic-comedy-happy-ending kind of girl. So if you are anything like me I am sure you’ll love “Winter’s Bone”.


I baked Flo Braker’s tea almond cake a couple of weeks ago and after that I started obsessing with almond cakes in general (the one on “Tartine” is next on my list); therefore, when I saw this almond and raisins cake on Gina DePalma’s wonderful “Dolce Italiano” I immediately marched to the kitchen to prepare it. The cake is very tasty, with great texture, but I think that an extra handful of raisins would make it even better.

Almond and raisin cake
slightly adapted from the delicious Dolce Italiano: Desserts from the Babbo Kitchen

½ cup (120ml) Marsala wine
½ cup (77g) golden raisins
2 cups (280g) all purpose flour
¼ cup (25g) almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon table salt
½ cup (113g/1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
100g (3 ½oz) almond paste – I used homemade
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (60ml) whole milk, room temperature
confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly butter a 22cm (9in) round cake pan*, line the bottom with baking paper, butter the paper as well and dust it all with flour, tapping out the excess.
Combine the Marsala with the raisins in a small saucepan and place over medium heat until the wine just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the almond past until smooth.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. On low speed, add half of the dry ingredients, beating well. Scrape the bowl again. Add the milk, beat well, then beat in the remaining dry ingredients. Switch to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds. Switch to low speed again and add the raisin and the wine.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden and risen and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the rack. Cool completely.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

* I made the exact recipe above using a 20cm (8in) cake pan (7cm high)

Serves 8-10


El said...

Thanks for the movie tip. I'll have to check it out. The cake looks scrumptious.

MANISAH said...

Hi Pat

I have been following your blog almost daily and I'm really impressed by your cakes and the energy that put into presenting them. The cakes are so tempting and looks yummy. As for this almond cake, I'm already thinking of trying it out this weekend. Thanks for sharing out yr recipes.

martina said...

Why on hearth I run out of butter??? This cake looks divine!!! Martina

Anonymous said...

My mother loves almonds, so I think I will make it for Mother's Day, what do you think?

Unknown said...

I can totally see a handful of raisins there too!! Looks wonderful!!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Nydia, if your mom loves almonds she will love this cake!

Anonymous said...

Hi Patricia,

I baked this cake yesterday. My husband, our three guests and I all really enjoyed it. The texture was moist and light. I liked how the flavors of the almond, raisins and Marsala melded (the whole being greater than the sum of the parts) with none of them dominating.

As always, your generosity in sharing recipes has made my life sweeter, literally and figuratively.

Thanks once again.



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