Almond Amaretto Cake

September is my birthday month! This is the cake that I made for myself. I had a wicked craving for something almond, and this cake really hit the spot. The almond flavour is everywhere, and it really sings in this cake. I was pretty spoiled for my birthday. I came in to my classroom and it was filled with balloons. I had some of my students make me cookies, and a dear friend had flowers delivered to me at work. After all that, Paul made an amazing dinner of maple glazed pork belly, loaded mashed potato spring rolls, and grilled asparagus. Like I said, spoiled.

I love me some cake, and couldn’t resist when I found this recipe. I found the original recipe here, and didn’t change it either. The cake is moist and delicious, soaked with a luxurious amaretto syrup. It has a ton of almond flavour in the cake, partly because of the almond flour, and partly because of the almond extract and amaretto in the actual cake.

The only part of the cake without any almond flavour is the buttercream, which I really like, as it gives a bit of a break from the nutty richness of the cake. A smooth, sumptuous vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream icing, slathered all over the three layer cake. Garnish with toasted slivered almonds, and you have a knock-your-socks-off cake loaded with almond flavour.

If someone you know loves the flavour of almond, make them this cake to celebrate their next birthday. It’s incredible!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 6-inch three-layer cake

For the cake:

1½ c. flour
¾ c. almond flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. salt
¾ c. butter, at room temperature
1½ c. sugar
3 eggs
1½ tsp. vanilla

¾ c. milk, at room temperature
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the amaretto syrup:

½ c. sugar
½ c. water
¼ c. Amaretto liqueur

For the vanilla Swiss Meringue buttercream:

5 large egg whites
1½ c. sugar
1½ c. butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. sliced almonds, toasted (for garnish)

To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour (or brush with Miracle Cake Release) three six-inch cake pans.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, almond flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Combine the milk and amaretto in a liquid measuring cup. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add vanilla.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and milk mixture to the eggs, beginning and ending with the flour. Pour into prepared pans, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely before icing.

To make the amaretto syrup, in a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Whisk together, and bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in the amaretto. Let cool.

To make the Swiss Meringue Buttercream, in the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the egg whites and the sugar. Place the bowl over a double boiler, and whisk constantly until the mixture reaches approximately 160°F.

Place the bowl of the stand mixer back on the stand mixer, and whisk on medium-high heat until the meringue is stiff and cooled. The bowl should no longer be warm to the touch, which should take about 5-10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment, and add the butter, about a tablespoon at a time, until it is completely incorporated. Add vanilla and mix again until light and fluffy.

To assemble, place a small dollop of the icing on the serving plate. Trim cakes so they are flat and level. Brush cakes with amaretto syrup, to make sure cakes are moist. Place one cake layer on the icing dollop. Layer cake with icing, then repeat with last two cake layers.

Frost the outside of the cake with a thin crumb coat. Chill for 20 minutes. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the icing, and pipe dollops on top of the cake. Cover sides and/or top of the cake with slivered almonds.

Slice, and serve!

Cherry Crumb Bars

As summer turns into fall, more and more fruit are in season, and being eaten. Fruit season is short and sweet – pun intended!

I bought a bag of cherries to enjoy while Paul was camping, and I couldn’t finish them all alone, so I had to find a recipe to help them keep for a little longer. This recipe was the perfect solution.

It uses about 2 cups of fresh cherries, which was pretty much exactly what I had left. The whole thing took no longer than an hour to put together and bake. I’m pretty sure I spent more time pitting the cherries than actually mixing the crumb topping and filling.

The original recipe I used is here, and it was so easy. If you are a cherry lover, this is a great recipe that is low-risk, high-reward. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel (I seem to prefer fresh, raw cherries as opposed to cooked cherries), but they maintain a lot of their fresh texture and taste. These really hit the spot! I just cut them into 16 pieces instead of 9.

Apparently these bars really go well with any kind of fruit, so if you don’t like cherries, sub in your favourite fruit and go crazy!

Ingredients

Yield: 16 bars

For the crumb topping:

½ c. butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
½ c. sugar
1½ c. flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt

For the cherry filling:

2 c. cherries, pitted and halved
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line an 8×8 square pan with foil or parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine the cherries, cornstarch, and lemon juice. Stir until cherries are thoroughly coated. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the cooled melted butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a fork to combine, and keep in some chunks.

Reserve about ¾ of a cup of the crumb, and press the rest into an even layer into the prepared pan. Spoon the cherry filling over the base crumb layer. Sprinkle the reserved crumb layer over the cherry filling, and bake in the preheated oven for 23-25 minutes, until the top crumb layer is beginning to turn golden brown.

Remove from oven, and cool completely before slicing and serving.

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

So, I made this cake a few weeks ago when Paul brought home an entire bucket of apples that were given to him by a co-worker. I pinned a bunch of apple recipes, and then decided on this cake because it was so easy.

Seriously, this cake took about 15 minutes to put together and get in the oven. It was another really easy recipe, that had big flavour and a soft, tender cake crumb.

I don’t want to talk too much about this recipe, so this post will be short and sweet – just like this cake!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 8-inch cake

For the caramel base:

¼ c. butter, softened
1/3 c. plus 1 tbsp. brown sugar
3 apples (peeled, cored, and sliced thinly)

For the cake:

¼ c. butter, at room temperature
½ c. sugar
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1 c. flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
¼ c. plus 2 tbsp. milk

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour an 8-inch cake pan and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar until well-mixed. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the cake pan. Cover the butter mixture with the sliced apples.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the butter, sugar, and vanilla, and whip until fluffy. Add in the egg, and mix again.

Add the flour mixture and the milk alternately, beat until combined, and pour batter over apple slices. Spread out the batter evenly, and bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a cake platter and let cool. Slice and serve cake warm.

Easy Artisan Rolls

Okay, it’s been a busy few weeks. Not going to lie, most of these posts that have been released at the end of August or at the beginning of September were made in the middle of summer, at the end of July.

I was able to catch up with my baking and do a lot of it over the summer, most often in the mornings when it wasn’t ripping hot the whole day. I wrote up the posts, took pictures, and then scheduled them for later.

It’s something I have to do because when I get busy, life is BUSY. By the time this recipe will have went public, I’ll be back in school, when in reality I typed it when I was still relaxing at the beginning of August.

Either way, to the rolls. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the recipe. Crusty outside, soft inside, really good basic bread rolls that have only FOUR ingredients, and take maybe 20 minutes hands on all together? Yes, please!

I found the original recipe here, and was extremely pleased by the results. Next time I need rolls for a gathering, I’m going to whip these up! It really couldn’t be any easier. Mix the four ingredients in a bowl, cover it up, go to sleep, then shape and bake in the morning. Seriously. These rolls are that easy. (Also, the author has some great tips on making these rolls ahead, if you need them!)

Next time I make them, I’m going to experiment with some flavour add-ins, like rosemary, sea salt, or maybe even cheese or garlic. The options are endless!

Ingredients

Yield: 12-16 rolls, depending on size

4 c. flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. active dry yeast
2 c. room temperature tap water

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Make a well in the center, and add in the water, incorporating everything together until a wet and sticky dough is formed. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave out at room temperature overnight, or 8-12 hours.

After the first rise, preheat oven for 425°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Generously sprinkle your work surface with flour, then turn out the dough onto the flour. Cut into equal pieces, about 12-16 (depending on how big you want your rolls), and shape into balls, making sure rolls are coated in the flour, and pinching the edges together to seal.

If you want smooth looking rolls, place seam side down on the prepared baking sheets. If you want a more rustic texture, place rolls seam side up. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 20-40 minutes, until almost doubled.

Transfer pans to the preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate pan(s) and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until rolls are an even golden brown. Transfer rolls to a wire rack to cool completely.

Raspberry Lemon Loaf Cake

I went to visit my parents a little while ago, and they have a fantastic garden. It’s extremely well-stocked with a ton of fruit and vegetables. I helped my mom pick some fresh raspberries, and then she sent them home with me.

The raspberries spent about two days in the fridge, and I didn’t know what to do with them. Finally, I found a recipe for this Raspberry Lemon Loaf Cake on Pinterest. I couldn’t believe how easy it was! It took me 10 minutes, and 1 bowl to get everything ready.

This was a recipe that was so low-effort, but with such a high reward. You need to go make this loaf cake now. The best part is, you can use fresh or frozen raspberries, and it makes no difference. Delicious!

Ingredients

Yield: 1 loaf pan

For the cake:

½ c. vegetable oil
1 c. sugar
1 c. greek yogurt or sour cream
3 eggs
¼ tsp. lemon zest (I didn’t have any, so I used lemon extract)
1 tbsp. lemon juice (or more lemon extract if you don’t have any)
1½ c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 c. raspberries, fresh or frozen

For the glaze:

¾ c. icing sugar
3-4 tsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. Add in the yogurt/sour cream, and the eggs, and whisk until smooth. Add in the lemon zest/extract/juice and whisk again.

Add the flour and baking powder and salt, and whisk again, until almost no lumps remain. Dust the raspberries with a little bit of flour, toss, and add into the batter. Fold in gently with a spatula.

Transfer batter to the prepared loaf pan, and bake in the preheated oven for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for at least 1 hour, then remove from pan, and cool completely on a wire rack.

While the loaf cake is still cooling on the wire rack, add the icing sugar to a liquid measuring cup. Add in the lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, whisking until the glaze becomes thick, yet pourable, thinning out with lemon juice as needed.

Drizzle the glaze over the cake, and let cool completely. Slice and serve.