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Friday, March 16, 2012

Almond Cake With Fresh Berries

This has been such a busy week! 
1. Temps in the '60's!  I finally put up my new window boxes.

My parents came for a visit and I took advantage of my Dad's handy-dandy skills.  Took the two of us about an hour to drill and hang six boxes.  

Without him, who knows how long it would have taken me?  And how many sighs of exasperation and shakes of my head did he save me from?  Thanks, Dad!  

2.  The only baking I've done in the last few days is a batch of dog cookies.  Click on the link to be taken to my favorite doggy recipe.

3.  Caitie is home for spring break {yippee!}, and we have been out all day, every day this week.

4. Wednesday was my wedding anniversary, Mr. Terrific and I have been married for 25 {wow!}

Which brings me to 

Mr. Terrific bought me a new camera!

So awesome!  --yet terrifying, because I  have really gotten into a groove of blaming my lackluster photos on my old camera.  What if I continue to take drab pictures with the new camera?

Yesterday, I charged the battery and tried to work my way through the manual, which is over 300 pages long.

And then, last night, I proceeded to have one dream after another, similar to those dreams where you're trying to run {but your legs won't move} or you're trying to scream {but no sound comes out}.   I suppose some people might call them nightmares?  Well last night, in multiple dreams, I was trying to take photos with my new camera but the camera wouldn't work.  Knobs were falling off, buttons refused to move, the lens refused to focus.  All night long. 

So a few minutes ago I grabbed the camera and took this picture:

And this one:

I took them just to prove to myself that the camera is working.  I still have a lot to learn, but I think that maybe these pictures--taken on this overcast, rainy day--are quite a bit better than my usual dreary photos.

And since I made (and took the following photos for) this Almond Cake last week, I'm hopeful that this post will be a last hurrah of dim, dark and drab photos.

Today's Playlist

"Jerk It Out"........Caesars
"The Remedy"........Jason Mraz
"Animal".......Neon Trees
"Shake Me Down"......Cage The Elephant
"How Far We've Come"........Matchbox Twenty
"Funky But Chic".......New York Dolls
"Believe"......The Bravery
"As Ugly As I Seem"......The White Stripes

Almond Cake With Fresh Berries
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7-ounce package almond paste
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Triple Sec
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 pints fresh berries
For the whipped cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
Or just use a can of ready-made whipped cream!
Gather your ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 9-inch-round cake pan with waxed paper.  Butter the waxed paper (or spray with non-stick cooking spray) and the sides of the pan and dust with flour.  Pay particular attention to the crease where the sides of the pan meet the bottom; this cake will be particularly sticky in that crease if there isn't enough butter.

In the bowl of your mixer (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) place the butter,


and almond paste.  Cream these ingredients together until they are light and fluffy.

Add the eggs,

 Triple Sec (substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon orange extract if you don't have Triple Sec),
and almond extract.  Mix well.

Add the flour,

and baking powder.

Mix on low, just until blended.

Pour the batter into the wax-paper lined pan.

Spread the batter to distribute it evenly.  Bake in your preheated 350-degree oven for 39 to 42 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, prep your berries.  Use any combo of berries that you like.  I used a quart of strawberries and a pint of blackberries.

Wash the berries and drain them well.  Two pints will top the cake, and you will use the remaining pint to make a berry sauce.

I decided to put all of the blackberries and half of the strawberries on top of the cake, and use the remaining strawberries to make a sauce.

The berries on top of the cake should be small, bite-sized pieces.  The blackberries are fine as they are, but I had to halve and quarter the strawberries for the top of the cake.  After you've prepared the berries for the top of the cake, refrigerate them until you are ready to serve the cake.

I did a rough chop to the strawberries I was using for the sauce.  When you heat them they are going to release their liquid and get all mushy so don't spend any time at all dwelling on how to chop them up.  Just chop them.

Put them into a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water.  Stir them around, and bring them to a boil.

When they start to boil, reduce the heat and allow them to simmer for about 10 minutes, until they are completely mushy and sauce-like.  Allow them to cool for a bit and then refrigerate them until you are ready to serve your cake.

If you're not using ready-made whipped cream, now is the time to whip your own.  All you need is heavy cream and confectioners' sugar.

One cup of heavy cream and a tablespoon of confectioners' sugar.  That's all it takes.

Whip it.  Whip it good.

When the cake has finished baking, immediately run a knife around the edges so that the sides of the cake do not stick to the pan.  Allow the cake to cool in the pan, and then invert it onto a serving plate.

Top it with the fresh berries which you've already prepared.
Slice the cake and add a spoonful of the sauce.

Add a dollop of whipped cream.  Yum.


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