I am not normally a sweets person, and am really not a baker….I just don’t have the mind-set to follow a recipe step by step, preferring to just add a dash of this and a pinch of that to create beautiful dishes. However, the other night we hosted a little holiday dinner gathering that included some friends celebrating their one year of marriage anniversary…enough of an occasion to get me to bake.
I had seen a recipe for an amaretto pound cake that seemed simple enough, and as luck would have it, I had all the ingredients needed in my pantry and bar. Me being me though, I of course doctored up what I saw…adding in some extra spices, flavors, and lots more amaretto. Simply delicious, beautiful and spot on topped with fresh whipped cream, a perfect way to finish our holiday feast.
Amaretto Cake with Fresh Berries and Whipped Cream
For the cake – This made 8 cupcakes and 1 8×8 square cake….a lot of amaretto cake, but so delicious. You could also make 2 square cakes and stack them on top of each other with the glaze in the center, or just make cupcakes.
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 sticks butter (room temp)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon almond extract
Zest of 1 lemon
1 cup amaretto – divided into 3/4 cup and 1/4 cup
For the glaze –
1/4 cup amaretto
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
For the whipped cream –
1 pint whole whipping cream
2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh berries, pomegranate seeds and chopped almonds for garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Add room temp butter to a stand mixer and begin to beat on the lowest setting. Add the sugar and continue to mix until the butter and sugar are fully incorporated, pushing down the sides occasionally. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Add the eggs to the sugar and butter mixture then carefully add half the four mixture, pushing down the sides to make sure all the flour is getting incorporated. Add the extracts and the 3/4 cup amaretto. Mix to incorporate then add the rest of the flour, mixing just until the wet and dry ingredients are one. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir from bottom to top to make sure all of the batter is mixed together. Spray your cake and cup-cake pans liberally with cooking spray so the cake won’t stick and fill about 1/2 way up, adding any extra to the cake pan instead of the cupcakes. Bake for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally. When the tops are golden brown remove from the oven and place a toothpick into the center of the cake and the centers of a few cupcakes. If they come out clean, the cake is done. When the cake is still warm lightly drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup of amaretto.
To make the glaze and the whipped cream –
As the cakes are baking whisk the powdered sugar and amaretto together to form a thick paste like glaze. Set aside.
Clean your mixing bowl and place it in the freezer for a 10 minutes. Remove and replace it on the stand mixer. Add the cream, extracts and sugar and using the wire whip attachment whip the cream until soft peaks are formed. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
When ready to serve drizzle the glaze over each cupcake and the whole cake, then arrange how ever you would like on a platter. Sprinkle with almonds then liberally with your favorite fresh berries. Serve with whipped cream on the side.
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