Almond Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Almond Pound Cake2

I’ve struggled for years to find a pound cake recipe that results in a cake that has the right texture and level of moistness. Then I stumbled across this recipe in one my old cookbooks from Williams-Sonoma and I instantly fell in love. (“Williams-Sonoma Holiday Entertaining” – page 206 – “Almond Pound Cake with Cherry Glaze”) Because the cookbook is quite old you can’t find it new anymore however, if you’d like a copy for yourself you can click the image below to find some used copies available through various sellers on Amazon.

The original recipe calls for the pound cake to be served with a cherry glaze (see recipe below) which is absolutely delicious but this time around I decided to take the cake into a different direction. Instead of the cherry glaze I covered the pound cake in a chocolate ganache so that it took on a similar flavor to one of my favorites, rainbow cookies! Because I was bringing this cake to a late holiday get-together I used Christmas colored sprinkles to decorate but of course, feel free to use any color sprinkles that you have on hand.

What I like most about this cake is that there are various ways to make and serve it, all of which are equally yummy. If you want a lighter cake, try dusting it with some powdered sugar instead of the ganache or cherry glaze. If you prefer a more traditional pound cake flavor, you can easily replace the almond extract with pure vanilla extract. Also, don’t be afraid to try other flavored extracts as well, there are so many awesome ones to choose from such as brandy, hazelnut, and coconut! This is truly a great “base cake” that lends itself to so many other flavor options and presentations! Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups (235 grams) sifted cake flour (sift the flour FIRST, then measure)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (315 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz.) buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract

*If you do not have buttermilk, make your own.  Measure out 1 cup of milk and add to it 2 tbs of vinegar or lemon juice.  Let stand 5-10 minutes and then it will be ready to use.  It will not be as thick as store bought buttermilk but it will work just the same in recipes.

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a bundt pan and dust lightly with flour, shake out the excess.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar. Beat until creamy and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat thoroughly after each addition.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, one-third at a time, alternating with one-third of the buttermilk. Combine thoroughly after each addition. Lastly, beat in the almond extract.

Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan then gently tap the pan to release any air bubbles. Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes depending on the size/shape of bundt pan.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes. Then, slip a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen any stuck edges and turn the cake out onto a wire rack. Cool completely. Drizzle with the chocolate ganache and cover in sprinkles.

To store, cover loosely and place in a cool, dry place. This cake can be made a day ahead of serving as well.

Cherry Glaze

  • 1 cup (125 grams) dried cherries
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz.) port wine
  • 2 tbs granulate sugar
  • 1 jar (8 oz.) cherry preserves

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the dried cherries, port wine and sugar and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the preserves, reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened, about 6-7 minutes. Let cool slightly. Drizzle the cooled cake with the cherry glaze or serve on each individual slice. If making the glaze ahead of time, allow to cool completely, cover, and keep in the fridge. Reheat with 1-2 tbs of water.

Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

lemonbundt

I love fresh lemons so I couldn’t resist trying out this yummy recipe for Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake.  This recipe was adapted from Once Upon A Chef, recipe by Jennifer Segal.  I made only two changes to this recipe, I added 2 tsp of vanilla extract to the batter and I also made my own buttermilk. *(See bottom for “how-to”) This cake was moist and delicious and it was a huge hit in my house, even my husband and kids loved it and they are generally not fans of lemon desserts!

Original Recipe – Lemon Buttermilk Pound Cake

Ingredients 

For the Cake

  • 3 c all purpose flour spooned into measuring cups and leveled off with a knife
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 2 tbs grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Syrup

  • 1/3 c water
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice

For the Glaze

  • 1 c powdered sugar
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp lemon zest, packed
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and set an oven rack in the middle position. Spray a 10″ bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium until it’s light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again.  Add the vanilla and mix well.

In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, lemon zest, and lemon juice.

With the mixer on low, beat in 1/4 of the flour mixture, then 1/4 of the buttermilk mixture. Beat in another 1/4 of the flour, then another 1.3 of the buttermilk mixture. Repeat again with 1.4 of the flour mixture, and the remaining buttermilk mixture. Finally, beat in the remaining flour mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and give it one more quick mix to make sure everything is well incorporated.

Spoon the thick batter into the prepared bundt pan and smooth over with a rubber spatula. Bake for about an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.

Invert the warm cake onto a rack. Slip a large piece of wax paper underneath to catch any drippings. Brush the hot syrup over the cake letting in soak in a little as you go. Do not rush, go slow so most of the syrup is absorbed. Allow the cake to cool completely, about an hour.

When the cake is cool, make the glaze. Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and melted butter in a medium bowl. Mix with a fork until smooth. Add more powdered sugar or lemon juice as needed to achieve a thick but pourable glaze. Spoon the glaze over the top of the cake letting it drizzle down the sides.

**NOTE**If you do not have buttermilk in the house just make your own.  Measure out 1 cup of milk and add to it 2 tbs of vinegar or lemon juice.  Let stand 5-10 minutes and then it will be ready to use.  It will not be as thick as store bought buttermilk but it will work just the same in the recipe.