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Kay's House of Treats: Almond Cake

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Almond Cake

Almost everyone who bakes usually has a good plain/pound cake recipe - something that you can have with tea, or when you want a light snack and something that the whole family enjoys. This cake is my to go favourite all rounder cake; not only is it a great cake for everyday occasions, but I almost always make it as a secondary cake for parties (especially Eid) for people who would like to have something light for dessert and might not prefer fudgy chocolate cakes. It can easily be made ahead and kept for at least 3-4 days (provided there's enough left :) ). 

Almond Cake
Enough for one 8 inch or 9 inch round pan; one loaf pan (8 1/2 x 4 1/2)
Recipe can be doubled for one 13x9 rectangular baking pan (this is how I usually make it because its a family favourite)
Ingredients (For reference, 8 oz = 1 cup)
6 oz flour (3/4 cup)
6 oz sugar (3/4 cup)
5 oz vegetable oil (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup) - don't use olive oil 
3 eggs
1.5 teaspoon baking powder
4 tbsp coarsely ground almonds (can be reduced - my family loves almonds, so I add more)
(I have a manual nuts mill which I use to coarsely grind the almonds - I like the crunchy texture in the mouth so I coarsely ground the almonds but can be processed more finely based on personal preference)
Almond essence - 1/4 teaspoon (can be increased to 1/2 teaspoon if a stronger almond flavor is preferred)
Vanilla essence - 2 drops
Sliced Almonds - about 1/2 cup (I prefer slicing them with the skin on, since it creates a better contrast with the white cake, but its easier to slice them if the almonds are blanched in hot water and skins removed) 

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 C. Line baking pan with parchment paper and grease well with oil/butter.  
2. Sift flour and baking powder together.
3. Beat sugar and oil together till mixed - about 2 minutes. 
4. Add eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. 
5. Add ground almonds, almond essence and vanilla essence and mix well.
6. Add flour and baking mixture and fold with a spatula or wooden spoon.
7. Pour into baking tray
8. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top for garnish - they will get toasted in the oven and get crisp. If you prefer the almonds untoasted, then you can add them in the end after taking out the cake. 
9. Bake at 200 C for 25 - 30 minutes till skewer comes out with moist crumbs. If recipe is doubled for 13x9 inch pan, then it needs to be baked for about 35 - 40 minutes.
10. Cool on a wire rack.
11. Once cake is cooled, it can be glazed with an almond syrup which adds a light crunchy & sweet texture to the cake. 

Almond Glaze
1 cup icing sugar/confectioner's sugar
1/2 - 1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon almond essence

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the almond essence and enough water to create a glaze with the consistency of light cream (should coat the back of a spoon). Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake.
Note: It is essential to sift the icing sugar, otherwise there will be lumps in the final product. 

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