Saturday, February 13, 2010

Easy Almond Pound Cake

Pound cake originally got it's name because it was traditionally made with one pound each of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour, although that quantity of ingredients is rarely used today. If you use a 1:1:1:1 mixture of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour the resulting cake will be very similar to the traditional cake.

I used a blender instead of a food processor and sliced instead of slivered almonds. Keep an eye on your pound cake to make sure it's not getting too brown. When I checked on mine after 25 minutes to rotate the pan, it was already a bit darker than I would like so I covered it with aluminum foil for the remainder of the cooking time. To make plain pound cake, omit the almond extract and slivered almonds.

This cake is moist and delicious with a wonderful, but not overpowering, almond flavor. I will definitely make this again. 

Easy Almond Pound Cake
from the America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book

makes one 8-inch loaf

1 1/2 c. (6 oz.) cake flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/4 c. (8 3/4 oz.) sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
16 T. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and hot
1 t. almond extract
1/4 c. plus 2 T. slivered almonds

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pan. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
 2. Process the sugar, eggs, vanilla, almond extract, and 1/4 c. slivered almonds in a food processor (or blender) until combined, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, pour in the hot melted butter through the feed tube in a steady stream until combined, about 30 seconds. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
 3. Sift one-third of the flour mixture over the egg mixture and whisk to combine until just a few streaks of flour remain. Repeat twice more with the remaining flour mixture, then continue to whisk the batter gently until most lumps are gone (do not overmix).
 4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Wipe and drops of batter off the sides of the pan and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds over the cake. Bake the cake until a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 50 to 60 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then flip it out onto a wire rack. Turn the cake right side up and let it cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving.

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