Once in a rare while, I will make a dish or dessert whose texture almost outranks its taste.
The texture of Brown Sugar Almond Cake with Caramel Frosting (click for the recipe - but watch out, it's missing an ingredient and has too much of another, read below*) is truly amazing. It’s moist
yet fluffy, and it stays that way for about three days if kept in the fridge.
A few samplers of this cake remarked
on the cake’s terrific texture.
I think the secret behind the
texture is the unusual and clever step of blending canned pear halves with
almonds to a thick purée, then blending that further with buttermilk and other
Not only is the texture great, the
cake is also delicious. It is very family friendly, and works well for all
sorts of occasions and situations from brunch to packed lunches.
Another great feature of the recipe
is an easy caramel frosting for which the refrigerator does most
the work of thickening up the base caramel.
*The recipe I linked to above is the closest thing I could find on the Internet to the recipe I used from the cookbook Bon Appetit: Desserts. It is nearly identical
to the one I used from the cookbook, with two glaring exceptions – it’s missing an
amount of white granulated sugar, and has too much golden brown sugar.
The recipe tells you to put both
sugars in a blender, but only the golden brown sugar is listed in the cake
The recipe, according to the one I used, needs 3/4 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup golden brown sugar.
The cake easy to make.
Canned pear halves, drained well,
are blended with blanched, slivered almonds in a food processor. Buttermilk,
white sugar, golden brown sugar, butter, two eggs, and vanilla and almond
extracts are put into the processor and the mixture is blended well. As the
recipe says, it may look curdled, but this is fine.
The wet ingredients are added to dry
ingredients of cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and everything
is stirred together to blend.
The batter is poured into a
nine-inch square cake pan that’s been lined with buttered wax paper. The cake
is baked, then cooled slightly before being turned out of the pan and cooled
The frosting is made by combining
dark brown sugar, whipping cream and dark corn syrup in a saucepan, then
stirring over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. After two minutes
of boiling, the mixture is poured into a bowl and chilled until cold and beginning
to thicken, about one hour.
Butter and powdered or confectioner's
sugar are beaten together until smooth, then the cold brown sugar mixture and
vanilla are beaten in.
The frosting is spread over the
cake, and toasted sliced almonds are sprinkled on top.