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Buttered Almond Cake

This is my favourite cake of all time. ALL TIME! It beats chocolate, carrot, plain white/vanilla, black forest, etc. Any other kind of cake out there doesn’t hold up to this Buttered Almond beauty, in my humble opinion.  I request it for my birthday every year, and even though I’m technically an adult, someone in my family will usually humour me and whip one of these up.  THANK YOU FAMILY!!!

So the story of the Buttered Almond Cake goes like this:  My mom first encountered it at a restaurant in Kitchener that has since closed down.  Extreme sadness followed when we realized the restaurant closure meant no more of their divine Buttered Almond Cake.  But the universe smiled on us (or there were enough other people out there who shared the same obsession with this cake, and wrote the newspaper to express their feelings), and lo and behold, the owner of the restaurant shared the recipe with the local newspaper and all was well in the food world! My mom still brings out the tattered and yellowing newspaper clipping every time there is a reason to make this cake, but now that I’ve transcribed it into digital form, hopefully many more people can experience and revel in cake perfection.

My younger brother Drew actually made the cake in these photos (click for a peek at the rest of my birthday dinner feast), so he gets the credit for creating this one. But I did sample it more than once, so I can testify that he did an outstanding job.

Get started with the butter, shortening and sugar.

Dry Ingredients

Then add the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder and salt to make the rest of the cake batter.

Wet Ingredients

Put it in the oven.  It’ll emerge looking like this and smelling amazing 🙂

Two Cakes!

Did I mention there is a layer of almond cream between the cakes?  So good.

Almond Cream Filling

Ohhhh……and then there’s the icing…..drooooooool.

Icing the cake

The finished product!  I love the choice to put the toasted almonds only on the side of the cake and not the top too.   It might have been almond overkill, and I think it looks great too!

Double Decker Buttered Almond Cake

It went fast.  That will happen to a double decker buttered almond cake.

Double Decker Buttered Almond Cake

 Buttered Almond Cake Recipe

½ cup butter
2/3 cup shortening
1 ¾ cups sugar
7 eggs
3 ½ cups cake and pastry flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 ½ cups milk

1.    Cream butter and shortening together.  Add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth and light.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat until well blended.
2.    Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.  Add dry ingredients and milk alternately to creamed mixture.
3.    Pout batter into two 10 inch or three 9 inch round cake pans that have been lightly buttered and lined with wax paper.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes. (Or 140 for 45 mins)
4.    Let Cake cool on racks for about 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

Cream Filling Recipe

2 cups + 2 tbsp milk
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ cup sugar
pinch of salt
3 egg yolks
¼ tsp almond flavouring (optional)

1.    Heat 1 ½ cups milk in the top of a double boiler, being careful not to scald.
2.    Make a past of remaining milk, cornstarch, sugar and salt.  Add egg yolks and stir until well mixed.  Add a little hot milk to egg yolk mixture to warm it, then stir into milk in double boiler.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until filling is thickened and smooth and there is no raw starch taste – about five minutes.  Stir in flavouring if desired.
3.    To prevent a skin from forming on top, cover with plastic wrap and stir occasionally during cooling.

Buttered Almond Icing Recipe

½ cup + 1 tbsp butter
4 cups icing sugar
6 tbsp table cream
1 cup slivered, toasted almonds

1.    Heat butter in a small skillet or heavy saucepan until foam on top turns a golden brown.  Stir occasionally.  Do not over brown or the flavour will be burnt rather than roasted.  Cool slightly.
2.    Place icing sugar in mixing bowl and mix in cream then gradually stir in browned butter, scraping pan well.  Beat until icing is smooth and creamy.

To assemble cake:

1.    Slice each 10-inch layer in half horizontally.  (Do not split nine-inch layers.)
2.    Top one cake layer with filling and repeat, topping with final cake layer.  Cover top and sides with layer of icing.  Immediately add almonds to sides of cake and refrigerate.

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Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Milk Chocolate Frosting

BEST. CHOCOLATE. CAKE. EVER.  To be totally honest, I’m not a huuuuge chocolate cake fan.  If it’s put in front of me, I’ll definitely eat it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s just not one of those things that I crave.  But this cake is different…..It’s moist, perfectly flavoured, not overwhelmingly sweet and the chocolate chips really bump it up a chocolate cake bracket.  And then there’s the frosting…….  True story:  after making this cake for the first time, I made just the frosting again a few weeks later because it’s just like candy.  And then I put it in the freezer where it sort of froze, and turned into a vaguely caramel candy-like snack.  It was a semi-successful experiment, but the point remains; this will be your new favourite icing.

Fresh out of the oven!

The recipe for this cake suggests that you bake 3 separate round cakes, and assemble it in layers.  That’s a great idea if you’re feeling particularly ambitious. But if you’re not, just throw all the batter into one cake dish and while it may not look as fancy, it will still taste just as fancy.

Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Milk Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Cake with Caramel-Milk Chocolate Frosting Recipe

Cake
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
2 cups sifted cake flour (sifted, then measured)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ cups (packed) golden brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Large Eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp buttermilk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (about 6 ounces)

Frosting
24 ounces high quality milk chocolate (such as Lindt), finely chopped
3 ounces bittersweet, or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ½ cups sugar
1/2 cup water
2 ¼ cups whipping cream

For Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray three 9-inch diameter cake pans with 1 ½ inch high sides with nonstick spray.  Line bottom of pans with parchment paper.  Whisk flour and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.  Using electric mixer, beat brown sugar and butter in large bowl until fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating in well after each addition.  Beat in vanilla.  Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with buttermilk in 2 additions.  Beat in ½ cup lukewarm water.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide batter among prepared pans (about 2 1/3 cups for each).  Smooth tops.  Bake cakes until tester inserted into centre comes out clean, about 22 minutes.  Cool completely in pans on racks.  Invert cakes onto 9 inch diameter cardboard rounds or tart pan bottoms (cakes will be delicate).  Peel off parchment.

For Frosting:
Combine milk chocolate and bitter-sweet chocolate in large bowl.  Stir in sugar and ½ cup water in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup is deep amber colour, occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush and swirling pan, about 10 minutes.  Carefully and slowly add whipping cream  (mixture will boil vigorously).  Stir over low heat until any hard caramel bits dissolve and mixture is smooth.  Pour caramel over chocolate; let stand 1 minute to allow chocolate to soften, then whisk until chocolate-caramel frosting until completely cool, about 2 hours.  Let stand 1 hour at room temperature before continuing.

Using electric mixer, beat frosting just until colour resembles milk chocolate and frosting is easily spreadable, about 1 minute (do not overbeat or frosting will become stiff and grainy).  If necessary to correct graininess, set bowl with frosting over saucepan of simmering water for 10 seconds intervals, whisking just until frosting in smooth and spreadable.

Place 1 cake layer on platter, flat side up.  Spread 1 cup frosting evenly over top.  Top with second cake layer, flat side up, pressing slightly to adhere.  Spread 1 cup frosting over top and sides of cake, swirling decoratively.  (Can be prepared 2 days ahead.  Cover with cake dome and store at room temperature.)

From:  The Bon Appétit Cookbook

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