Sunday, July 7, 2013

Almond Cake with Fresh Berries



I'm still here :)

My husband and I recently hosted one of our most enjoyable entertaining events of the summer - our gourmet group.  The long-held format is the host and hostess create the menu and assign one recipe to each couple to make and bring to the host's home.  The hosts are responsible for the main course and usually a side dish, plus all of the wine and beverages for the evening.  We always host in the summer in order to enjoy al fresco dining on our patio and summery views of the garden that I work so hard to primp for this event. Normally, I would have a few pictures of my table setting outside but sadly, the weather did not cooperate for us this year and the dinner had to be served indoors. Harrumph!

Today, I'm sharing the dessert that I chose for the event.  It's Jacques Pépin's Almond Cake with Fresh Berries.  I was given his cookbook Fast Food My Way recently by my son-in-law. This cake is delicious, summery and so easy to make (in the food processor!).  


Just before serving, the cake is drizzled with a spiked simple syrup.  I used rum but cognac would also taste delicious. Then, a layer of thinned apricot preserves is brushed on. I applied both to each slice individually so that the remaining cake wouldn't get too soggy.


What I didn't have time to show is the dollop of Grand Marnier-spiked whipped cream on the side. The original recipe calls for Creme Fraiche as the garnish. 

Our main course was grilled rainbow trout with lemon parsley butter which I've shared here.  Grilling fish for 10 people required 3 batches of 4 fish each on the grill (we used two cast iron grates) so we slightly undercooked the first 2 batches and held them in a 200 degree oven until the last batch was completed. It received rave reviews from our friends.  I hope to share a couple other highlights of the meal soon. 

Among many other things here is a sample of the other things that has been keeping me busy for far this summer...

A few of my blue and purple clematis, now in full bloom...


...and my two Boy Blue grandsons :)


Thank you to all of my friends who have been supportive of my fewer than usual posts this summer :) I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful month of July!

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Almond Cake with Fresh Berries
Adapted From Jacques Pépin's Fast Food My Way and also found here.
Printable Recipe

SERVINGS: 6 to 8

Cake

4 ounces almond paste (3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon tightly packed; see Note*)
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
Dash of salt
1 cup cake flour (4 ounces) - I used King Arthur's Unbleached Cake Flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Toppings and Garnishes

1 1/2 tablespoons rum (or spirit of choice)
2 tablespoons superfine sugar

2 tablespoons apricot jam

Fresh berries
Mint leaves
Crème fraîche or Whipped Cream (flavored with rum or Grand Marnier), for serving

Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter an 8-by-2-inch round cake pan*. Line the pan with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a food processor, combine the almond paste, sugar, butter and vanilla and process for 10 seconds. Add the eggs, milk and salt and process for 5 seconds. Add the cake flour and baking powder and process until the batter is smooth, 5 to 10 seconds. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until lightly browned and firm, about 40 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the rum with the sugar and 1 1/2 tablespoons of water; stir to dissolve the sugar. I heated it on the stove top to help dissolve the sugar. In another small bowl, whisk the apricot jam with 1/2 tablespoon of water to make a glaze.

After the baked cake has cooled for about 5-10 minutes, unmold the cake upside down on a baking rack. You will have a nice, flat top this way. When cool, transfer the cake to a serving platter. Brush with the spiked syrup just before serving and then brush the cake with the apricot glaze. Scatter the berries over and around the cake. Garnish with the mint leaves and serve the cake in wedges with spiked whipped cream or crème fraîche.

*My Notes:
  • I used a 7" spring form pan so my cake was higher than using an 8" pan - which I liked. However, it took longer to bake.  If a toothpick comes out clean, the cake is done.  I buttered the pan and then also sprayed with Baker's Joy.
  • You can make this cake early in the day. Or make several cakes, wrap, well and freeze. Defrost, still in their wrappings, in the refrigerator. 
  • Almond paste is available at most supermarkets in 8-ounce cans or tubes. (Look for Solo Brand in a can –it costs less than the tubes.) I bought the 8 ounce Solo Brand Almond Paste in a can and make 2 individual cakes - processing one recipe at a time in the food processor.  
  • I tripled the spiked syrup and and doubled the amount of jam glaze

85 comments:

  1. I adore a good almond cake. This looks incredible.

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  2. Meant to add - the mosaic of your clematis is so pretty!

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  3. So happy to see that great shot of les boys:) It's beautiful and they look so happy!!
    Great genes your family has..EXCELLENT genes..One so fair..like whet..the other dark,that's how my girls were:)
    I just compiled a bouquet this am of ind blooms..It's a good yr for clematis..I will post later this week:)

    The cake looks so good..I love almonds..and your son-in-law was so nice to get you a cookbook..
    Thumbs up!♥

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  4. I can't imagine any spirits were "dampened" with that lovely cake on the table! Years ago, when we lived in a culinary black hole, we formed a couple's group. It was tasty fun. Every time you share what you do, I'm tempted to get together such a group once again. Thanks for sharing your adorable "blue" boys. We have a blonde boy and a brunette boy ourselves. Hope you are enjoying your summer.

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. Thank you, Bonnie. It can be hard to find enough people willing to stick with it. Scheduling can also be a problem, especially in the summer, but we're happy we're still challenging ourselves ;)

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  5. Your cake is gorgeous Susan! The flowers are beautiful and I'm sure the boys are keeping you busy (and smiling:@) Happy Summer!

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  6. The cake looks delicious. Many years ago we had enjoyed being part of a "supper group". Always an entertaining time. Your blue boys are precious.

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  7. Don't you enjoy being in a gourmet group? Our group has been together since 1980 and we still find wonderful food to share! Your cake is beautiful and the combination of ingredients....make for wonderful flavor! It sounds like the perfect summer dessert.

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  8. Tanti, tanti complimenti per il tuo blo. Belle ricette e belle foto.
    Mi sono unita con piacere ai tuoi lettori.
    Se ti fa piacere, vieni a trovarmi.
    A presto, Lorena

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  9. It would be nice to belong to a gourmet group..not that I'm a gourmand...more like a "foodie". :) I'll bet the almond cake was a hit, with the Grand Marnier whipped cream. What a cute photo of your little grandsons. They're adorable.

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    1. Thanks, Babs! We try to keep things fairly simple with our group these days. No one wants to spend all day in the kitchen :)

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  10. wow great cake and your Grandsons are adorable continue to enjoy hugs

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  11. Adorable grands! Love to watch Mr. Pepin on the cooking shows, but have never tried one of his recipes. This one looks amazing. Nasty weather...how dare it?! What a pleasant way to spend time with friends.

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    1. Thanks, Vee! It is delicious - just be sure not to over bake if you try it. Yes, the weather has been very unpredictable this year!

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  12. Hi Susan, your grandsons look so cute and adorable. Nice picture and those flowers are very pretty.

    Your almond cake with fresh berries look awesome, very nice soft texture. Great to go with coffee. :)

    Have a nice week ahead.

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  13. wow Susan, your grandsons are dolls! And this time you have my favourite garden colour :-)
    The cake looks fantastic with seasonal berries! I prefer cakes without greasy cream.

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    1. Thank you, Angie! I was hoping you'd enjoy the flowers ;)

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  14. Aww your grandsons are so adorable my friend :D
    And your cake is absolutely calling to me, so refresh and delicious!

    Cheers
    CCU

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  15. welcome back my dear !What a gorgeous cake ,I love Jacques Pépin's recipes, are so easy to make and always delicious !Your gransons look so cute...Have a great week Susan, a big hug...

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  16. First of all your grandsons are beautiful. I'm sure you have a great time with them. I have this cookbook but have never made this cake which looks wonderful. How fun to have a group like this to get together with on a regular basis. I'm just sorry you were unable to share your incredible meal outdoors where everyone could see your lovely garden.

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    1. Thank you, Vicki! Mother Nature had other plans that night ;)

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  17. great cake and wonderful children!! (I am melting looking at their smiles! )

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    1. Thank you Joumana! You got your Google account fixed!

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  18. I know that cake must have been scrumptious. I love how tall it is! The boys look adorable.

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  19. I love almond paste. I make a cake with almond paste and limoncello. Yours looks so pretty. I enjoy the Jacques Pepin Fast Food My Way series.
    Sam

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  20. I could eat almond paste right out of the package. Honestly. The cake looks light and perfect, Susan.
    Your grandsons are adorable...what fun you must have with them. Such a cute photo.

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  21. It's all beautiful Susan, your two darling grandsons, the cake and flowers. I'm glad you had a chance to host your group and share such a lovely dessert. I know how busy you are this time of the year!

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    1. Thanks, Gnee. The boys are here today and it is going to be another very busy week ahead - but it's all good.

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  22. I always look forward to the menus from your gourmet group dinner. What a beautiful cake and a perfect accompaniment to our luscious summer fruits. I need something special for a party this weekend and this will be just the thing. Your little guys are just adorable, Susan.

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    1. Thank you, Cathy! I hope you enjoy it! I was very careful not to let it over bake and get dry.

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  23. Que buen corte y con esas frutas rojas que bueno :)
    Un saludito

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  24. Hi Susan, with a cake like that how could we be disappointed in fewer posts! OMG, how amazing! I'm having dinner on the 30th for friends and I think I'm going to make that cake!

    Your grandsons are just adorable! Enjoy your summer!

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    1. Thank you, Mary! I hope you enjoy it if you try it! As I've mentioned you just need to be careful not to over bake or it could become dry.

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  25. This cake looks and sounds amazing. I am having a few friends over for dinner this weekend and I think this just may be my dessert. BTW, your grand sons are absolutely precious. There is nothing better than grand children, in Sept. our daughter will be having our 7th grand child and they have chosen to be surprised. I'm trying to get used to that, I really do like knowing in advance especially since we didn't have that technology when we were having ours. Not my decision to make though.

    Carolyn

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    1. Thanks so much, Carolyn! Congrats on grandbaby #7!

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  26. Can't beat almond cake with summer berries!
    How you can be motivated to bake during the hot summer months is beyond my comprehension, but I'm glad you do, you warrior princess.

    Your entries always put a smile on my face, almost as wonderful as the ones on your boys' faces, even if I'm not nearly as adorable.

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    1. Actually, when I did the test run it was quite cool then I passed the recipe off to one of the couples in our gourmet group to bake ;)

      As always, thanks for the smile, Sol!

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  27. Gorgeous photos - and Love almond cakes - your photos are gorgeous and I can only imagine how luxurious the cake must taste with the syrup poured over it and the glaze slathered on each slice. A perfect ending for a summer meal.
    :)
    V

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  28. I am glad you are enjoying summer Susan! I love the cake and the presentation too! Your grandchildren are adorable!

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  29. It sounds like a super summer! And your cake looks absolutely beautiful, simple but so good! I love almond paste in bakes! I have the feeling that I would go gaga over this cake! Serving it with berries makes it all the more delicious!
    Gorgeous blooms, I'm so envious of your garden! Your grandsons are so adorable!

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  30. Your guests had to enjoy the meal but I'm sure that they missed enjoying your beautiful yard. Enjoy your summer.

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  31. I've made that cake so I can vouch for what a good recipe that is. It looks beautiful in your version. Your clematis are lovely too - not to mention those handsome young grandsons.

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  32. Your cake is beautiful, as always. Sounds like a perfect dinner! I want to start a dinner group in our neighborhood. Maybe this winter after things calm down and the snow flies and we're all looking for something to do! Enjoy July!!!

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  33. Susan, the cake is beautiful and I have made your grilled rainbow trout with lemon parsley butter many times. We love it! The boys are getting so big. Enjoy your summer, and keep those beautiful blooms coming. My clematis are doing wonderful this year.

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  34. Susan, I'm not a baker but I can use a food processor! Your cake is beautiful and sounds wonderful with the spiked syrup, Grand Marnier whipped cream and fresh berries! Love your clematis and adorable blue boys :) We've had a very wet summer with very little outdoor dining or boating time.

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  35. I'm so glad to hear everything is okay and that you've just been enjoying life! Best excuse to take a blogger break. :) This cake is gorgeous!

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  36. Beautiful cake Susan.. It looks so fluffy and delicious!!!

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  37. Your grandsons are so cute, I imagine they keep you quite busy.
    Beautiful cake, very elegant presentation as usual in your posts!

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  38. Gorgeous! I don't think I've ever had almond cake before but I'm excited to give it a try!

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  39. Su pastel se ve muy delicioso lindo corte ...sus nietos son muy lindos,saludos y abrazos.

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  40. You take the most beautiful photos! Jacques Pepin recipes are so incredible. I'd love to try this one.

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  41. That beautiful drizzle is getting to me. Don't you just love summer fruits? This sounds perfect and the creme fraiche could be pretty great too!

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  42. Fantastic kids, lovely cake and beautiful flowers. What more could we ask for?

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  43. What a gorgeous cake Susan, and the combination of almond and berries is just perfect.
    Your grandsons are absolutely precious.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week :D

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  44. This gorgeous cake just perfect for a summer afternoon with champagne. The whipped cream with Grand Marnier sounds delicious! Enjoy your summer with your two beautiful grandsons:)
    Cheers,
    Judit + Corina

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  45. Lovely welcome home present for me. YOur pictures are always so inviting and cheery!
    Delicious looking cake... I'm taking it slower than usual this summer too... too much to do!!!

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  46. Susan I love the cake look awesome!!
    and love your grandsons are so cute!!
    a lovely post! enjoy your summer:)

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  47. Even if it means fewer posts, I am glad you are enjoying your life. Cake is delicious-looking. And thanks for the tips on the fish. We do grill fish a lot when friends come over, it is always a hassle to decide how to fit everything etc. Need to try this trout with the butter. Our favorite has been pompano so far. But trying out lots of different ones.

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  48. Sounds like a fun summer gathering you had there. Sorry the weather didn't cooperate. But I'm sure you still had a great time. This is definitely one gorgeous cake to share.

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  49. I came back for another look. I think this would be great for our house guests next week.
    Sam

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  50. It looks wonderful, Susan! I don't think I have a 7 in springform pan, I must look for one.
    It is a busy summer for sure. The boys are darling! You need a few more to keep you on your toes! :)

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  51. Susan, this cake looks amazing and I bet it tastes as good as it looks!
    Your garden is beautiful! And, your grandsons are beautiful too!

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  52. Your grandsons are adorable, Susan! I know how much two little boys can keep one busy :)

    I love this cake! Jacque Pepin is the best!

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  53. Hello Susan, this almond cake with the berries looks delicious. Your grandsons are adorable and I love your clematis! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Have a great day!

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  55. hello susan,I thought I would stop by, your almond cake looks very delicious and with a taste of Grand Marnier and whipped cream on top "yummy", going to make this and you have beautiful grandsons...

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  56. Omg, this looks INSANE!! It looks like a cheesecake...can you believe that I have never before had an almond cake?! I'm thinking it's about time! I am so addicted to your blog and all of your insane food photography!

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