It’s mid-day on a weekday and I got to bake. This is pretty rare since I’m usually at work at this hour. This baking opportunity wasn’t for the best of reasons. Our little guy is sick so I stayed home with him. Liz stayed home yesterday. Fortunately, he’s feeling much better now so he should be back at school tomorrow.
What to do today?
He was pretty under the weather in the morning so it was lots of fluids and rest for him. We just relaxed in the living room and we took the opportunity to watch a movie together. We watched Big Hero 6. It’s an action packed animated Disney movie. Even though we’d already watched the movie in theatres, we loved it!
Once the movie was over, we had some lunch and since he appeared to be a little peppier, I surprised him with his next super fun activity! Homework 😉 He didn’t agree with this being ‘super fun’, but he didn’t argue or complain…too much.
I guess I can bake now.
While he worked on his school work in the dining room, I took advantage of the opportunity to do a little baking. I had already planned this recipe a few days ago and I had everything I needed, so I knew this would be easy.
Learning from mistakes.
I’ve been cooking for a long time, but baking is something I only took up in the past few years. I find that with baking, the little details and accuracy matter a lot more. For example, if an extra clove of garlic happens to fall into a stew, it’s not a big deal and the stew will still taste great. Baking’s not quite as forgiving. One teaspoon of baking powder–added or forgotten–can change a lot! This need for attention to detail used to bother me, but once I decided I wanted to have more home-made treats, I got over it. I’ve adapted–I’ve practiced–I’ve messed up and then tried again; and I’ve learned a lot. Now I really enjoy baking and there’s never a good enough reason not to have home-made desserts at home. Of course, now I’ve lost my waistline… but that’s another story for another day.
I happened to have one of those large bags of almonds from Costco at home and that’s what inspired me to create this recipe in the first place. I mean…there are a lot of almonds in that bag–I had to do something with them.
The recipe is pretty straight forward. The one thing that’s a little less common is the almond paste. Many recipes out there call for store-bought, and I’m sure that would be absolutely fine to use. I would have used it myself if I’d found it at my local grocery stores. That would have made this recipe even easier and quicker to make. If, like me, you can’t find it and you’re up for a little extra work, you can make the almond paste yourself. I ended up using a very simple recipe for almond paste that I found on Taste of Home‘s website.
Hey… I’m not saying I never buy store-bought desserts, but there’s always something extra delicious about baking something myself at home.
If you are like I used to be about baking desserts, I challenge you to give it a go. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake and try again, and as always, eat well, friends!
Simple Almond Cake
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup almond paste (see note below)
- 4 large eggs , at room temperature
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 350 ºF
- Grease and flour a 9 inch springform pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper cut into a circle to fit the bottom..
- Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to cream the butter and sugar on medium high. This will take about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to medium and add the almond paste. Run the mixer for about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add one egg at-a-time and let mix until everything is fully incorporated.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla and almond extract and let the mixer run another 30 seconds.
- Take the bowl off the stand mixer and pour the batter in the bowl over the dry ingredients.
- Use a spatula to mix everything well. Careful not to over-mix. You don't want to beat the batter.
- Pour the final batter into the springform pan and place the pan in the oven on the middle shelf.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
- Take the pan out of the oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it finish cooling.
- Place the cake on a serving dish... and enjoy!
- You can also use an 8 inch springform pan, but make sure to test the cake when the 40 minutes of baking are up. Because it'll be taller, it might need a few more minutes in the oven.
- If you can't find almond paste at your local grocery store, visit Taste of Home's website for a wonderful recipe. The homemade almond paste is likely better than store-bought and it didn't take long at all to make!