Ooooh….friends, I am going to share with you one of my favorite little desserts – this Almond Pound Cake topped with Strawberries in Lemon Syrup (and of course, whipped cream). I’m pretty sure this is on the menu for Valentine’s Day next week. I am always in the mood for this cake! It’s so good! So, I actually took this picture awhile back (hopefully you’ll see that the photography on this blog has been improving), so, no, it’s not all green and beautiful outside right now. While honestly a fairly reasonable winter, IMO, it’s still a little snowy and, well, dead-ish outside.
Well, have no fear. This little cake will just warm and cheer you right up. I know it’s not strawberry season, but you can still find ’em, and this cake might just be worth paying a little bit more for them right now.
The almond cake can stand on its own and would be great with any hot drink. So if you happen to run out of strawberries (which happens sometimes when I overindulge on the topping), you can still happily enjoy the remainder of the cake. I actually think the cake tastes better the next day, so you can even make this in advance, or be super happy for leftovers!
Next the strawberries. All I can say is HEAVENLY. They are sweet, a little tart (from the lemon), and rounded off with a touch of vanilla. Make sure when you top your cake to be generous with the syrup.
Oh, and of course, you must top the whole thing off with a nice dollop of whipped cream.
Man, I don’t even know if I can wait until Valentine’s Day to make this after writing this post. I am officially salivating!
Tip: I like to line my 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil – it makes it so easy to remove the cake. Way worth it since you don’t want to fret about it breaking!
You can half this recipe and make it in a loaf pan. Perfect for two!
- ¾ cup whole almonds (about ¼ pound), toasted, and then cooled (to toast, place on baking sheet in oven at 350 F for about 10 minutes, flipping once at 5 minutes to toast evenly)
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs, room temperature (if you need to warm quickly, place eggs in a bowl of warm water to help speed it up)
- 1¼ cups superfine granulated sugar (castor sugar - if you don't have it, just use regular granulated - doesn't change texture significantly)
- ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- ⅓ cup milk
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- ½ cup sliced almonds (2 ounces)
- 2 cups water
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 pounds strawberries, tops trimmed and quartered lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ cups chilled heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 F.
- Line an 8x8 (or 9x9) baking pan with aluminum foil (or you may butter and flour it).
- In processor, add half of cooled, toasted whole almonds and grind until fine crumbs (still a little coarse and dry to the touch. Do not overgrind or they will turn into a paste!)
- Transfer ground almonds to a mixing bowl.
- Grind remaining almonds and add them to the bowl.
- Add flour, baking powder, and salt to ground almonds. Mix until evenly distributed.
- In a stand mixer, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat eggs at high speed until foamy, about 15 seconds, adding sugar a little at a time.
- Throughout the whole mixing process, scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed to incorporate all ingredients.
- Continue beating until mixture is thick, pale, and just starts to form a ribbon when the beater is lifted out (7-8 minutes in a stand mixer, 10-14 minutes with a handheld).
- Add melted butter in a slow stream, beating constantly.
- Add milk and almond extract and beat until just combined.
- Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Spread batter into prepared baking pan, and smooth out top with scraper.
- Sprinkle on sliced almonds over surface of cake.
- Bake cake about 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool cake for 10 minutes, then (if using tinfoil), once not hot to the touch, lift cake by tinfoil and set on rack to cool about another 20 minutes and then invert cake onto rack. If not using tinfoil, Let cake cool for 30 minutes in pan on rack before removing. When removing, run a knife along the edges to loosen the cake and invert onto rack.
- Turn cake right-side up and continue to cool completely, about another 30 minutes.
- In a medium sauce pan, bring water, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil. Stir in sugar until fully dissolved.
- Reduce heat until at a low boil (to avoid boiling over - sticky mess!), and cook for about 15 minutes (or until reduced to about 2 cups liquid).
- Transfer syrup to a bowl and cool completely (may place in the fridge to expedite cooling).
- Stir in prepared strawberries and vanilla extract and macerate (let soak) for about 30 minutes before serving.
- Whip chilled cream.
- Cut cake into four equal squares. Then, depending on your desire, either cut each square diagonally for triangle pieces, or simply cut straight in half for two rectangles from each section. (I like to serve each piece on its side so the syrup can soak really well into the crumb.)
- Top with strawberries, syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from Epicurious
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