Almond Cake for Date Night – Serves Two

almond-cake-for-date-nightMike and I will celebrate our 17th wedding anniversary this year. We married one week after graduating college – because, why wait? – and are now those boring married people whose “date night” means a Saturday night catching up on the TV shows we’ve recorded during the week.

For last night’s date night, I whipped up this adorable little almond cake. It’s perfect for two, yielding two slices of cake for each of us. The icing is just an almond glaze, topped with sugar-toasted almonds, which are much easier to make then they may sound. Next time, I may slice the cake in half and add some pastry cream or raspberry filling between the layers.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3 tablespoons milk

For the toasted almonds

  • 6 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the almond glaze

  • About 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon water

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray a 6-inch round cake pan with baking spray, line it with a parchment circle, and spray the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until very well-blended. Add egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat until combined.

Add flour and milk alternatively in two batches, beginning and ending with the flour and beating until completely combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 18-22 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow cake to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

While your cake cools, prepare your toasted almonds. Place almonds in a small bowl and add sugar and water, mixing well to coat. Place in a saute pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5-7 minutes until almonds start to turn a light golden brown. Almonds will start out looking wet and will appear dry when they are almost done. Remove from heat and pour onto a plate to cool completely before using.

Once your cake and almonds are cool, make your almond glaze. Place powdered sugar in a small bowl and add almond extract and water, stirring until smooth. You want a thick glaze consistency, so you may need to add a bit more powdered sugar to thicken it. Pour glaze over cake and top with toasted almonds.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Makes 4 servings.

 

 

Burnt Almond Torte

burnt almond tortePittsburgh bake shop Prantl’s Bakery offers a popular cake called burnt almond torte. This is my brother’s favorite cake, and I wondered at his recent birthday dinner if I could make one. Naturally, I gave it a shot using a combination of recipes I’ve made before and a few I found online. The cake you see here is destined for tonight’s Christmas dessert, and I look forward to updating this post with a photo of a slice of it on my plate.

Technically speaking, a torte isn’t the same as a cake. While cakes use flour, tortes usually do not; instead, they rely on ground nuts and other ingredients for their structure. Whether Prantl’s burnt almond torte is an actual torte, I cannot say – mine is not, as it uses a white almond cake batter with regular flour. Because I wanted a smaller cake, I used two 8 x 8 square pans but a single-layer cake recipe, so I’d have smaller layers overall. You could double the recipe below for a larger cake if you like.

White Almond Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup milk

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray two 8 x 8-inch square cake pans with baking spray; line with a parchment square and spray the parchment.

In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder; set aside.

In a mixing bowl, cream together sugar, shortening, and salt until fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined.

Add flour mixture and milk in alternating batches, starting and ending with the flour and beating until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pans; bake for 14-15 minutes, until tops are just golden and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool cake completely before filling and frosting.

Fluffy Almond Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream

Preparation

In a mixing bowl, beat butter for about 1 minute, then add salt and beat another minute.

Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until all of the sugar is fully incorporated into the butter; this will take a few minutes.

Add vanilla extract and almond extract, beating well to combine.

Add heavy cream and beat for about 2 minutes until fluffy.

Pastry Cream Filling

Burnt Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Preparation

In a medium bowl, combine almonds, sugar, and water; stir to combine.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place half of the almond mixture in a saute pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring regularly, for about 4-5 minutes until almonds turn a light golden brown. Almonds will start out looking wet and will appear dry when they are almost done.

Remove to the parchment paper to cool and repeat with the second half of the almonds. Allow to cool completely before using.

To assemble the cake:

Place one layer on your cake plate and top with pastry cream, spreading within about 1/2 inch of the edges. Top with second layer of cake.

Frost cake completely. Cover the tops and sides with almonds, pressing gently to allow them to stick.

Store in the refrigerator; allow to sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.