From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Back in the day, Bob's mother spent many a Mother's Day with us. At the time, we belonged to a parish that scheduled First Communion and Confirmation on Mother's Day, and she made it a point to attend the "passage" ceremonies of her grandchildren. My kids all adored her and when she was with us they reveled in making something special for her to remember. This pound cake, with the help of an old Farm Journal cookbook, was one of their creations. Now you must understand, that while my children are accomplished and comely, time has made it abundantly clear that the chromosome for fine motor skills never made it to our family gene pool. My son is the only member of the crew who can artistically dot his I's and cross his T's, and this pound cake, known in the annuls of family history, as Bob's Armadillo Cake gave him the opportunity to shine. The cake is normally made with a sprinkling of chopped almonds, but using tweezers and an entire bag of sliced almonds, he completely covered the cake with overlapping almond slices, giving it an armadillo-like mien. I, who regularly boast about my well-stocked pantry, had planned to make his version of this cake for you, but when the time came to finish it, I learned that while I had ground almonds, slivered almonds, whole almonds and almond meal, there were no sliced almonds in my cupboard. That means you'll have to wait another year to see the armored pound cake. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but in the interim you'll be able to enjoy this wonderful, nearly naked, pound cake. It is really easy to make and while it is wonderful to eat out of hand, it makes a terrific base for macerated fruit or trifle. The ease with which it comes together has made it one of my favorite go-to recipes, and because I'm not always on top of things, I make it more often than I should. I do hope you'll give this simple cake a try. Here is how it's made.
Almond Pound Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Farm Journal
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, lightly toasted
1) Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2) To make cake: Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. Beat butter in bowl of an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light-colored, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. On low speed, beat in half of flour mixture. Scrape down side of bowl and beat in milk. Add remaining flour mixture and almond extract and beat until smooth. Spread into prepared pan.
3) Bake cake for 65 minutes, or until crowned and set. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes, then invert to remove and cool upright on rack.
4) To make topping: Combine confectioners' sugar, 4 teaspoons water and the almond extract in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until smooth. Spread over cooled cake and top with toasted nuts. Let icing dry at least 15 minutes before slicing. Yield: 10 to 12 slices.
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