One of life’s simple pleasures is enjoying a slice of a wonderful looking and tasting cake, and today’s baking creation fits the bill exactly! It’s essentially a variation of a recipe by Paula Deen called ‘Cream Cheese Pound Cake with Grilled Plums’ – without the grilled plums. One of the things we like the best about this cake, is that the cream cheese in the recipe not only imparts great flavor, but also results in a beautifully moist cake. As usual, my role in cake baking is licking the bowls, doing the dishes, taste appreciation and blogging, while my better half creates baking magic in the kitchen! 🙂
My wife used to use full-size cake forms in the old days, but these days we can’t afford the calories of enjoying full-size slices of cake for ‘coffee & cake’ in the afternoon each day, so she now bakes her cakes in small-size baking forms. The advantage of using small-size baking forms, besides enjoying fewer calories, is that a normal recipe usually makes for two small cakes, as well as six or eight cupcakes – and all the extra portions freeze beautifully for enjoying later. Psychologically speaking, a slice of a small cake still gives you all the flavor and satisfaction of having cake without feeling deprived – and without all the extra calories! 😉 Just make sure you adjust the baking time, as two small cakes will bake quicker than one full-size cake.
My wife toasts slivered almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet in the oven for extra flavor at about 350 degrees F for several minutes (depending on your oven), and watches them continuously for a hint of golden color and the pleasing aroma of almonds, prior to immediately taking them out of the oven and removing them from the baking sheet before they’re overdone or burnt. She toasts an entire bag of slivered almonds in one batch and freezes what isn’t needed for later, which can also be served over fruit salad, ice cream, etc.
She then makes a simple icing of powdered sugar, a small amount of milk, and in this case a drop or two of almond extract for flavor to ice the cooled cake. Her technique is to let the icing flow artfully down the sides of the cake and then immediately sprinkles it with the toasted slivered almonds before the icing dries, so the almonds adhere properly. For all the chocolate lovers out there, another variation for this cake is to substitute a chocolate glaze for the icing, either with or without the toasted slivered almonds – have fun with it and make it your own! This cake both looks and tastes wonderful – enjoy!