Saturday, November 3, 2012

Weekend Cooking...Let Them Eat Cake! Almond Cake!

Yes, I know, that is not really what Marie said, but I could not help it.

If you read my blog, you know that I just returned from a trip to Italy, visiting Rome, the Amafi coast, Florence, Pisa, the Dolomite Mountains and Venice.
I may mention this again in the future I warn I have just a few pictures.
Maybe a thousand of so.

There are so many great things to remember about the trip.
All the fantastic art.
The architecture.
Historic landmarks.
The scenic views.

The very, very nice hotels....
With their very, very nice breakfasts, one better than the next. Two from lovely rooftop terraces.
The views.
The variety.
The service...
"Good Morning Madam.
Tea this morning?"
Hmmm...maybe a cappuccino? Or hot chocolate? No, a pot of tea it will be, thank you.

Let's check out the buffet.
Grab a plate.

Look at all the fruit. Carved pineapples, fruit salad...did you see the kiwi? Cereals, nuts, yogurt.
The hot dishes...creamy, moist scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon or fried panchetta!

Then we are the cold items.
A lovely variety of meats, ham, salami, prosciutto..and the cheeses.

Not to mention the ever present and ever delicious fresh, creamy mozzarella and tomatoes. A dash of olive oil..some basil...perfection.

Did I mention that view?

Finally the bakery items.
Lovely little rolls, perfect for the French butter and jam.
Or a croissant?
Plain..or for a touch of something sweet, filled with chocolate.
Or a lovely little pastry, so flaky, filled with a fruit that apricot..peach? Delicious.

Cookies? A tart...or how about a slice of cake?
Cake for breakfast?

Why not?

Did I mention that view?
This picture to the right is from our hotel in Florence and wouldn't any breakfast be better with a view of the Arno flowing by, the rooftops of the city, the Duomo just a short walk away.
As soon as we finish breakfast.

The transition home has been hard. No offers to
get me a hot beverage as a check out the morning selection. Actually, no morning selection!
But we must do what we can.

So when I saw this recipe this week, for this almond cake, I thought, that is something I would have seen in Florence..or Venice or Roma....
I set a-baking!
So now I will have a slice. Make a  cappuccino in my Tassimo.
Look at my photos.
And pretend... ;-)

 Almond Cake (From Sassy Radish)
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (312 grams) granulated sugar
  • 7 ounces (198 grams) almond paste 
  • 16 tablespoons (227 grams) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 4 large egg yolks 
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7 ml) almond extract 
  • 1 cup (226 grams) sour cream 
  • 2 1/4 cups (283 grams) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking soda 
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) kosher salt 
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional
1. With the rack positioned in the middle, heat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. In a food processor fitted with a blade process the sugar and almond paste until combined. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the almond mixture to the butter and mix on high speed until well incorporated. Set the mixer to medium speed and add the yolks, one at a time, mixing well, well after each addition until each yolk is incorporated. Add the sour cream and the almond extract and mix until incorporated. Set the mixer to low speed and add the dry ingredients, in 3 batches, until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.

 3. Transfer the batter to the pan, and using a spatula, smooth out the top. Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack, and let rest for 10 minutes before turning the cake out onto the rack. Let cool for 1 hour. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like, before serving.

Makes 1 (9-inch) cake; serves 8 to 10.


Happily, I had almond paste on hand, so I was good to go. Just dig out the spring form pan, and yes, hmmmmm...I had some parchment paper. Sour cream was all I was missing. A trip to my WaWa and we shall begin.

The post on Sassy Radish warned that this cake sinks a bit in the middle, as it did in the East Village cafe, the Bluebird Coffee Shop, where she first saw it and begged for the recipe. She thinks it makes it look cozy. But I did not drop mine and break it in half as she sadly did. Not that it would effect the taste.

I made only one change to the recipe and that was the topping. In the original, she suggested dusting with powdered sugar, which would be lovely, and much like the cakes you see on that buffet. But, I decided to make a little glaze and then top it with toasted sliced almonds..because the more 'almondy' goodness, the better.

This is my contribution this to this week's Weekend Cooking.
"Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend."
Be sure to check out the other entries this week. As always, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.


  1. Beautiful as usual! And yay, I already have a tube of almond paste!

  2. Sob. Quit reminding me of the lovely, lovely breakfasts and making me dream of real espresso. Sigh.

    The almond cake looks awesome and I like the almond topping--great addition.

    Mr. BFR was making noises about visiting Italy. Hummmm.

  3. Oh my! This all looks so amazing! What a lovely and healthy buffet! I need to make that almond cake!

  4. Wonderful post, Caite! Your trip sounds awesome! And the almond cake looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe. Have a great weekend!

  5. Your photos are a feast for the eyes. Gorgeous! The cake sounds lovely although I never happen to "have almond paste on hand". What's wrong with me!

    You mean Larry didn't offer to make you breakfast when you got back?

  6. Oh my gosh, I want some of that mozzarella and tomatoes! All of that food was in your hotel?

    1. yes, and still we got out the doors everyday!
      actually, the last two, with the windows is in Florence, the top ones in Venice.

  7. That view is spectacular and I love your almond cake. I can't wait to read more about your trip.

  8. What a nice buffet, I like the sticks with mozarella and tomato. I would like to have that plate next to.


  9. OMG I love Almond Cake. It just drips with juicy goodness. And yes these Europeans know how to do their breakfasts. There is a Radisson Blue in Gdansk that I swear has enough to cause a 20 pound weight gain in 5 days. Like two rooms full of food. And not crappy muffins, but these wonderful meats and artisan breads and cheeses and crepes! So thanks for that Caite. I'll just be nice and happy with my protein bar. *sulk*

  10. Ooh, those photos just make my mouth water! Almond cake is simply heavenly and I have a very similar recipe... love your addition of glaze and sliced almonds.

  11. My mouth is watering!!! So sad that no one offers you the breakfast morning selection.. :(

    That almond cake sounds to die for! We love almond desserts. I need to start keeping some almond paste on hand. Or figure out how to make my own. It's just ground almonds and lots of sugar, right?

    Thanks for sharing those lovely food photos.

  12. Oh, love that spread of fruit. Looks like you had a great trip. Have a lovely week.

  13. I thought I would love a trip to Italy before, but now I know I would! Looking forward to seeing your other photos, but the food ones are beautiful enough!

  14. Okay, your trip looks like it was absolutely delicious! Also love the cake - I'm a huge fan of almonds. YUM.

  15. What a beautiful almond cake! And that buffet is out of this world. It's been years and years since I visited Florence, but I'll never forget it. Lucky you!!

  16. That cake is lovely -- perfect with almonds on top. Love all the Italy pictures -- especially the glimpses of the view. Sounds like an amazing adventure!

    1. we sure to check out my Wordless Wednesdays in future weeks to see some more photos of the trip.
      some do not even involve food!

  17. That cake sounds delicious-I love anything almond.

  18. That cake is astoundingly beautiful. Looks moist and delicious but the presentation is great. Looking forward to your photos of your trip!

  19. Michael (aka Mickey) and I enjoyed those wonderful breakfasts in Italy with you and your pictures just make me wish we were back there even if it's just for breakfast!! made this absolutely fantastic almond cake which we had the pleasure of eating this evening and as I exclaimed (enthusiastically) with my first bite " this is heaven in my mouth". If you keep making almond cakes for us - I could easily forget the meals of Italy!!!

  20. I wil say, this cake is even better the second day!


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