Friday, August 27, 2021

Raspberry & Almond Tea Cake

Way back in June one of my dinner clients gave me some beautiful raspberries from their garden.  They were just perfect for eating with my yogurt for breakfast.  But I also couldn’t resist the idea of adding them to a cake to enjoy with that bowl of breakfast fruit and yogurt.  So I made a simple raspberry almond streusel cake (a slightly tweaked version of my yogurt coffee cake).  The cake was delicious…made even better by the spectacular raspberries.  But as I was enjoying it I got to thinking about how much I really like the combination of raspberries and almond…and how I would really like to have even more almond flavor in my cake.  I decided I needed to make more cake.

A second reason I wanted to make another cake was that the streusel cake I had made didn’t really have enough structure to stand up to the damp addition of berries in the long term.  It was fine the day I made it…but the streusel (and even the cake) got a bit soggy as it aged.  This would not have been a big deal if I had been making it and serving it all right away to a crowd (for a brunch, for example).  But since I keep my cakes on hand for a while…and always freeze most of the slices…this wasn’t really ideal.

I thought that the best way to strengthen the structure might be to add some more egg.  I tend to make cakes that have what some bakers might consider an insufficient quantity of egg.  Classic pound cake is the poster child for “balanced formula” cakes—balanced in that the ingredients that give strength/structure (eggs and flour) are balanced by ingredients that add tenderness (sugar and fat).  I find the classic formula for pound cake to be a bit rubbery—even tough—because of the volume of egg.  (Some recipes add more sugar…or butter…or replace some of the egg with another liquid to work around the rubbery/toughness factor).

ven considering my usual preference for softer textured cakes, I had a couple of reasons to think more egg was the direction I needed to go with my raspberry cake.  First, when I began thinking I wanted to increase the almond flavor in my cake, Danish almond cake (probably my all time favorite cake) immediately came to mind.  Danish almond cake has an intense almond flavor because it is made with almond paste.  It also has a high proportion of eggs. This higher volume of eggs doesn’t make the cake tough because the eggs are well balanced by the tenderizing effects of the almonds and sugar. 

Then, in my quest to find ways to incorporate raspberries in my cake, I ran across some delicious looking raspberry cupcakes in
Sweet by Yotam Ottolenghi & Helen Goh. I noticed that they had used a higher proportion of eggs in their recipe. Helen Goh appears to be a precise baker (thoroughly testing all of her recipes)…I thought I wouldn’t go wrong by following her lead.  The cake I ended up making was essentially a cross between the cupcake recipe and the Danish almond cake recipe. 

When I finally got around to making my second version of the raspberry and almond cake, I decided that I was tired of always make streusel cakes for my breakfast cakes.
 There is of course nothing wrong with streusel.  (I will continue to enjoy streusel cakes!)  But somehow for this particular cake a topping of toasted almonds—glued in place with a buttery, powdered sugar drizzle—seemed particularly appealing.  If you don’t want to go to the trouble of adding icing and almonds, I discovered the cake is also very nice—and kind of elegant—with a simple dusting of powdered sugar.

I love this simple little cake.  It has enough structure to slice beautifully and stand up to the moisture in the raspberries…yet it is still very tender and moist.  Best of all, it has a delightful almond flavor—a perfect backdrop for the tart raspberries.  If you like raspberries in combination with almonds, I think you will find it to be delicious—and just the thing…whether you like to enjoy your cake for breakfast...or a little later in the day.  

Raspberry & Almond Tea Cake

150 g. (1 1/3 c.) all-purpose flour
1/4 t. fine salt
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. baking soda
175 g. (1 c. less 2 T.) granulated sugar
85 g./3 oz. almond paste, (not marzipan)
5 oz./10 T. unsalted butter, divided—5 T. at room temperature and 5 T. kept cold and cut into 5 chunks
1/2 t. almond extract
3 large eggs (150 g.), at room temperature
80 g./1/3 c. plain yogurt
7 to 8 oz. fresh raspberries, divided
Powdered sugar for dusting
1 recipe powdered sugar glaze (optional)
2/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly toasted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan.  Line the pan with a round of parchment, butter the parchment.  Flour the pan, knocking out the excess flour. 

Place the first four ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to aerate and combine.
  Set aside. 

Place the sugar and almond paste in the bowl of a stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, mix on medium low to begin breaking up the almond paste.  Add the cold butter and increase the speed to medium high (you may need to put some plastic wrap around the mixer to prevent the almond paste, sugar and butter from being flung out of the bowl).  Beat until the mixture is smooth.  When no lumps of almond paste or butter remain, increase the speed to high and add the soft butter.  Cream until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the bowl add the almond extract and mix in.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly on medium-high speed after each addition to return the batter to fluffiness and scraping down the sides before each next addition.  Fold in half of the dry ingredients, followed by the yogurt.  Add the remaining dry ingredients followed by 4 to 5 oz. of the raspberries on top of the dry.  

By hand fold in this remaining flour with the berries.  It is not necessary to be too gentle….the cake is actually kind of nice if some of the berries break up.  Don’t overdo it though…you don’t want pink batter.  

Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
  Smooth the surface and scatter 3 oz. of berries evenly over the top.  

Transfer the cake to the oven and bake for about 40 minutes.  The cake is done when it is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes.
  Run a small palate knife around the edge and invert the cake onto a rack or plate.  Place a rack on the bottom and reinvert so that the cake cools right side up.  Cool completely. 

The cake may be served simply—dusted with powdered sugar and accompanied by whipped cream.
  Or, serve as a brunch/breakfast cake by drizzling with a powdered sugar glaze and sprinkling with toasted almonds (see below).  Serves 10. 

Powdered sugar glaze:
  In a small heat-proof/microwave safe bowl combine 1 c. (120 g.) powdered sugar with 2 T. melted butter, 1 1/2 T. heavy cream, 1/2 t. vanilla extract and 1/2 t. almond extract.   Stir with a rubber spatula until smooth.  This frosting “sets” as the melted butter cools.  If it is too stiff for drizzling right after mixing (from cold cream straight out of the fridge…or a chilly room…for example), gently warm until the consistency is right.  If you overdo it, just let it sit for a few minutes and it will start to thicken/firm up again. 

To decorate the cake, generously drizzle some of the glaze over the surface of the cake.  Sprinkle the toasted almonds over to cover (the glaze will act as a tasty kind of glue).  If you like, drizzle more glaze over the almonds in a uniform, back and forth (across the cake) motion.  (Or, dredge the almonds with powdered sugar.)  If you want to insure perfectly clean cuts, portion the cake and then apply the glaze and almonds as for the whole cake (the sliced almonds might cause the tender and soft cake to tear when you cut it).

Printable Version

4 comments: said...

This looks wonderful Paige! Thank you for sharing it.

Paige said...

Thank you Marianne! I know you like to bake. If you give this a try, I'd love to hear how you like it!

Cecilia said...

Did I miss something on the butter? I see to add the 5 oz. cold butter, but when do I add the 5 oz. room temperature butter. I plan to make this with the last raspberries of the year!

Paige said...

Hi Cecilia,

It's all's just confusing because of Tablespoons vs. ounces. So, the total amount of butter in the recipe is 5 oz. (10 T.). Half of the butter (2.5 oz/5 T.) should be cold, the other half soft. You beat the cold butter with the almond paste and sugar until there aren't any more lumps of almond paste or butter, then you add the soft butter and beat until fluffy.

I'm jealous of your raspberry bushes! I hope you enjoy the cake!