Saturday, June 16, 2012

Vanilla Almond Pound Cake

A few months ago I came across this delightful cookbook. I think I read it all within one day, maybe two at most. Being a foodie, of course I love to "read" cookbooks but especially ones like this.

Besides containing some yummy looking cake recipes, you really get a glimpse into some of these southern communities and their love for the women they refer to as "cake ladies". Each story is truly unique and these women are simply amazing in the way they express their love and compassion through their decadent desserts.

I came across a lot of scrumptious looking cakes and I'm sure I'll be making more than a few of them in time! But I didn't get very far before I spotted my first recipe to try, in fact it was the very first story in the book. I knew it would be perfect for summer time berries and I made this cake for my mother's birthday a few weeks ago.

This cake was quite delicious I tell ya! I apologize for the crappy picture, we were up at the river for the weekend and the lighting was horrible. It was my first time making a pound cake and I think it turned out really well, I received so many compliments that night. You'll definitely like this if you don't want an overly sweet cake. It's topped with whipped cream, a mixed berry sauce and then additional fresh berries. This is a perfect summer treat and would look great on your table for the 4th of July coming up!

I really enjoyed this book and see myself coming back to it time and time again. Of course I'm sure I'll be trying out some of the other recipes too!

Vanilla Almond Pound Cake

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c vegetable shortening
3 c sugar
5 large eggs, room temp
3 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 c whole milk, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Berry Sauce:
2 pints fresh berries (I used a mixture of strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries)
1/2 c sugar
Whipped cream


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 10 x 6-inch tube pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cream butter and shortening together with an electric mixer on low speed. Add in sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating at low speed after each addition. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Beat for a total of  3-5 mins or until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beat until they are fully incorporated and entire mixture is light in color and texture.

Add flour and baking powder to a separate bowl, sift together and set aside. Add vanilla and almond extract to milk. Add 1 cup of dry ingredients to creamed mixture and beat on low just until incorporated. Add 1/2 c. of milk and extract mixture and beat on low. Continue alternating adding the dry mixture and milk mixture to the creamed mixture, ending with flour.

Pour batter into greased tube pan, smooth top with a spatula and shake pan slightly to settle the batter into edges of the pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until top crust of cake is a deep golden brown, the surface springs back when touched with finger and sides of cake have pulled away from the pan. Allow cake to cool at least one hour in pan. To remove cake from pan, place a large heat-proof plate on top of the pan. Grasp both sides of pan and plate firmly, and quickly invert the pan into the plate. Remove the pan, leaving the cake to cool on the plate.

To make berry sauce, add berries and sugar to a bowl and mash until sugar dissolves.

To assemble cake, top with whipped cream. Spoon berry sauce on top of whipped cream. Top cake with additional fresh berries. Cut into slices and serve. If you don't plan to serve all of your cake at once, you can cut into slices and then top with whipped cream and berry sauce. Keep remaining cake covered at room temp.

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