The almond bundt
For Christmas, I baked up a storm; my works ranged from the humble egg custard pie to the positively demonic chocolate cream pie. Then, there was the simple, no nonsense almond bundt cake. This is a cake I’ve been making for a couple of years now, on and off. It’s a monster of a cake: enough to keep many full for a day, or a few full for several days. It straddles the line between dessert and sweet breakfast cake. It’s versatile, it’s wholesome. I consider it more of a winter or spring cake, but it works with virtually any occasion. Also, almond is a hugely underrated flavor.
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
2 tsp. pure almond extract
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup ground almonds
1 cup milk (I mix half whole, half skim)
First, grease a 10-inch bundt pan, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. You can flour it too, if you prefer, but I’ve found it makes little difference in getting the cake out (sadly).
Butter up that butter in a mixer, with the granulated sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, then, the extracts. Almond extract is key: without it, you’ll be at sea.
Next up, the dry ingredients. The ground almonds require a food processor, which can be a pain to haul out. But, it’s well worth the effort. Grind the almond slices until they are a coarse powder. Add them to the flour, salt and baking powder.
Add the dry to the wet, alternating with a 1/3 of a cup of milk at a time. Pour and scoop the mix into the prepared bundt cake, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your oven. Perform the old clean knife test and ensure browned sides and edges. That will let you know it’s cool.
Wait to cool. This often takes about 20 minutes. The trickiest part is removing the cake from the pan. Half the time it works, the other half, it falls into two or three large pieces. In the end, it all tastes the same, true. But there is something to be desired in the beauty of the intact bundt cake, it’s symmetry, it’s perfection. Tapping the sides and edging it out with a knife does help.
When cool, sift confectioners’ sugar on top. There you have it! Beloved by babies and adults, it’s the almond bundt.