Friday, February 11, 2011

Almond cake and pagan babies

Someone asked me for a recommendation for a good Valentine's Day (VD--do you think the acronym is a coincidence?) dessert that's not chocolate. How about the almond cake recipe that my sister and I love to serve at Christmas? I've never made it for VD but it seems perfect, especially since it looks like a valentine--sprinkled with confectioner's sugar and garnished with red raspberries.

Last year Texas Monthly published a story of mine that included the almond cake recipe. The full article is a piece about my Catholic elementary school and how we used to buy pagan babies. At the time it seemed so innocent but now it sounds illegal. You can find the story at

Almond Cake With Raspberry Sauce

¾ cup sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
8 ounces almond paste
3 eggs
1 tablespoon kirsch or Triple Sec
¼ teaspoon almond extract
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Powdered sugar

Raspberry Sauce:
1 pt. (2 cups) fresh raspberries (with 2 tablespoons sugar) or 1 12 ounce package frozen raspberries, thawed

For cake: Preheat oven to 350º. Generously butter and flour 8-inch round cake pan (springform works best). Combine sugar, butter, almond paste in mixing bowl and blend well. Beat in eggs, liqueur, almond extract. Add flour and baking powder, beating just until mixed through—do not overbeat. Bake until tester comes out clean, about 40 – 50 minutes. Let cool. Invert onto serving platter and dust lightly with powdered sugar.

For sauce: Combine raspberries with sugar in processor and puree. Gently press through fine sieve to remove seeds. Serve sauce as accompaniment to cake.

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