Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Almond Butter Cake

A few years ago, my mom and I had a fun idea that we wanted to try that we thought could lead to a successful business and some extra money: decorating wedding cakes.  Haa...boy, did that idea last.  We thought it would be really cool to make wedding cakes, decorate them, and sell them for reasonable prices, since most wedding cakes now-a-days are sky-high expensive.  The cost is typically in the hundreds; ranging from $300-600.  I'm sure a bride would kill to buy a cake at lets say...$50?  That looks like a pretty low price to me, compared to $300.  So my mom and I started with the basic, first step: making a delicious wedding cake.  We looked online and through all our cookbooks, trying to find the perfect recipe.  I finally found it in "The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook" (Which - unfortunately - no recipes from it are available online.)  Now...this recipe was made in 3 ginormous cake pans and created to serve 85 people...so, of course, I cut it down to 1/6.  I mean really...who would be willing to use 4.5 cups of butter, 7.5 cups of white sugar, 6 16-ounce boxes of powdered sugar, 13.5 cups of flour, and 27 egg whites in one recipe??? Not me, that's for sure.  Cutting it down to 1/6 was the perfect amount, and I only had to bake it in one pan.  The recipe stated that it would take 1 hour and 45 minutes to prep, 2.5 hours to cook, and 3.5 hours to assemble and decorate.  No way was I spending 8 hours on a cake!!!  The hands on time it took my mom and I to make this (since we made a fraction of the recipe) was 2 hours tops.  And it came out perfect!  It's a rich, almond-y, buttery cake with a thin, sweet layer of apricot filling that makes it super moist.  It's then topped with a decadent, almond-butter frosting.  I brought some of this to school for my lunch table to try, and everyone loved it.  One of my friends declared it the best cake she'd ever tasted and still her all-time favorite today.  She's obsessed with it and makes her mom make it as her birthday cake every year.  My mom and I really should start working on this business again, cause with this cake, our business would be booming.

Yield: 1 10x3 inch round cake pan  (about 12-15 servings)

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1.25 cups sugar
2.25 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 large egg whites, at room temperature

Apricot Filling:
1/2 cup apricot halves, drained.
1/2 tablespoon amaretto (optional)

Almond-Butter Frosting:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening
1 16-ounce package powdered sugar, unsifted
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/6 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

To Bake Cake:
1. Grease bottom and sides of cake pan.
2. Beat butter and shortening at medium-high speed with electric mixer 3 minutes.  Gradually add sugar, beating at medium-high speed 4 minutes.
3.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with the cold water, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, beating well after each addition.  Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.  
4. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form (about 1.5 minutes).  Stir half of the beaten egg white into batter to lighten; fold remaining egg white into batter.  Pour into pan.  Gently drop pan on counter-top twice to release air bubbles from batter.
5. Bake at 325 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched in center and begins to pull away from sides of pan.  Cool in pan on wire rack 20 minutes.  Loosen edges of cake with a knife.  Remove from pan, and let cool completely, rounded side up, on wire rack.

To Fill:
1. Lay cake on a flat surface.  Carefully slice it in half horizontally, using a long knife with a serrated edge.  Insert two wooden picks into each layer, one above the other, to indicate how the two layers should match up when going back together after filling.
2. Process apricot and amaretto in container of an electric blender or food processor until smooth. Spread on bottom half of cake layer, spreading evenly over cake.  Replace top layer, carefully matching wooden picks to keep layers level.

To Frost:
1. Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with electric mixer 2 minutes or until creamy.  Gradually add sugar, beating at medium speed 2 to 3 minutes.  Add whipping cream, salt, and almond extract, beating well. Add more cream if necessary.  Continue beating until mixture is fluffy.  Frost top and sides of cake immediately.

1 comment:

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