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While I love to experiment with different cake textures and flavors, the recurrent request in my house, especially when it comes to birthday requests, remains the ubiquitous butter cake. And though I suspect it must have something to do with the yummy melt-in-the-mouth factor, homemade butter cakes seem to charmingly convey the message “I made it myself” without actually having to say the words.

One step ahead of your regular vanilla butter cake, this stunning Almond cake, baked in a Bundt pan, has all the makings of a perfect birthday cake. It was my first and only choice when I started planning my mum’s birthday. “With almonds, almond extract, and almond liqueur all working together in this cake, there’s plenty of almond flavor for even the biggest almond fan.” I cannot help agreeing here with Jennifer from Bake or Break, even if I made the switch from liqueur to more extract. Other than the simple sugar glaze, this beauty needs nothing more a handful of toasted almonds on top to look pretty. My mum loved it so much that she did not want to share her cake with anyone 😛

ALMOND BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

4 large eggs, room temperature

3 tablespoons almond-flavored liqueur

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 cup full cream milk

For the Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

3 to 5 tablespoons heavy cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

Toasted sliced almonds, for garnish

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously grease a 10-cup or 12-cup Bundt pan. Whisk together the flours.

  • Add salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Using electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter.

  • Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, beat well until it is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time.

  • Mix well after each addition. Add liqueur, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Reduce mixer speed to low.

  • Add the flour mixture in three portions, alternating with two portions of milk. Mix it just until combined.

  • Transfer the batter to the pan and spread evenly. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until the cake is golden brown.

  • A pick inserted into the center should come out clean. Cool the cake in pan on wire rack for 20 minutes.

  • Flip cake onto a serving plate and leave it to cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze.

  • Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons of the cream, and the almond extract in a bowl.

  • Add more cream, a teaspoonful at a time, until the glaze has the desired consistency, thick but pourable.

  • Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and garnish with toasted sliced almonds. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

Happy Birthday Mama!

After my first foray into gluten free baking with these coconut flour blueberry muffins, I have been curious to try more recipes with coconut flour, ground maize and nut flours. Being partial to almonds, I thought it was a good chance to test Smitten Kitchen’s chocolate financiers with my last bag of poudre d’amandes. While you can always go through the tedious process of blanching and grinding raw almonds, I find it easier to stock on 200g bags of Maitre Prunille’s powdered almonds though they might not be 100% gluten free. I have a good mind to swap some of the almond for hazelnuts next time I bake these along with a bit of Nutella in the centre to make them taste like Ferrero Rochers.

GLUTEN FREE CHOCOLATE FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup almond flour or meal

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/8 teaspoon kitchen salt

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup or 2 egg whites

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease and flour 15 financier molds or mini-muffin tins.
  • Melt the unsalted butter in a small saucepan and set aside till it reaches room temperature.

  • Mix the almond flour with the cocoa powder, salt, and powdered sugar. Stir the egg whites.
  • Then stir in the almond extract, and gradually stir in the melted butter until incorporated.

  • Spoon the batter into the molds, filling them three-quarters full. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • They should be slightly puffed and springy to the touch when done. Remove from the oven.

  • Cool completely before removing the financiers from molds. Makes 15 one-inch financiers.
  • The financiers can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Gluten Free Chocolate Financiers

The classic financier, made with finely ground almonds, is something I bake every time I have extra egg whites left over from homemade custards or ice cream. Very basic in its ingredient list and baking method, the only lengthy step you will encounter is to brown a few knobs of unsalted butter to create the aromatic beurre noisette, which highlights the nutty flavor of this delicate loaf-shaped friandise.  For a twist, I switched the almond meal in Weekend Bakery‘s recipe to a good measure of ground pistachios with a light sprinkling of chopped nuts on top and they were as good as the traditional almond financiers. I am further encouraged to try them with other nuts like pecans or cashew nuts just to see which one I like best.

PISTACHIO FINANCIERS

Ingredients:

30 g pastry flour

50 g pistachios

25 g almond flour

150 g icing sugar

Pinch of kitchen salt

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

3 egg whites, room temperature

100g unsalted browned butter

20g pistachios, chopped

Method:

  • Shell the pistachios and grind them to a fine powder along with one teaspoon pastry flour.

  • In a bowl, combine sugar, salt, pastry flour, almond flour, pistachios and almond extract.

  • Add egg whites and stir with a whisk until you have a smooth mixture, 1 minute is enough.

  • Add browned butter in a steady stream, whisking continuously. Transfer it to a piping bag.

  • Put it in the fridge for one hour. Preheat your oven to 200 °C / 390 °F conventional setting.

  • Now fill the prepared financier molds and sprinkle the tops with roasted chopped pistachios.

  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Leave in pan for 5 minutes before turning out.

  • Cool completely on a wire rack. Financiers are best eaten while fresh. Makes 12 financiers.

Pistachio Financiers

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