Wednesday, September 15, 2010

birthday cake memories - recipe: knotty pine’s buttered almond cake

I recently celebrated a birthday. It’s tradition in my family for the birthday guy or gal to give strict instructions on what he/she would like Mom to prepare for the “feast”. This year was a bit different. My brother Adam hosted the dinner and my Mom helped by baking a cake.

Adam treated us to baby back ribs, his famous spicy potato wedges, Caesar salad and Herrle’s corn-on-the-cob. Mom surprised us with a version of the Knotty Pine’s buttered almond cake. Does anyone else remember that amazing creation?

Enjoying that cake four times a year, on each of our birthdays, was another tradition that held fast until the bakery closed down a number of years ago.

Mom recently found the recipe online. Apparently, we aren’t the only ones missing this cake! If you don’t want to go to the effort of making the from-scratch cake recipe, cheat and use a yellow cake box mix — I won’t tell.

Whether you make the cake yourself or not, the best part of the cake is the icing. In fact, I recently dressed up a banana loaf with this icing for a pot luck — yum.

Knotty Pine’s buttered almond cake
(recipe found online)

ingredients: cake

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup shortening 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 7 eggs
  • 3 1/3 cups cake and pastry flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 cups milk

ingredients: cream filling

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 pinch salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond flavouring
ingredients: buttered almond icing
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon margarine
  • 4 cups icing sugar
  • 6 tablespoons table cream
  • 1 cup chopped almonds, toasted

method: cake

  • Cream butter and shortening together.
  • Add sugar and beat until mixture is smooth and light.
  • Add eggs one at a time and beat until well blended.
  • Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  • Add dry ingredients and milk alternately to creamed mixture. Mix gently until well combined.
  • Pour batter into two 10 inch or three 9 inch round cake pans that have been lightly buttered and lined with wax paper.
  • Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Let cool on racks for about 10 minutes then remove from pans and cool completely.

method: cream filling

  • Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in the top of a double boiler, being careful not to scald.
  • Make a paste of remaining milk, cornstarch, sugar and salt.
  • Add egg yolks and stir until well mixed.
  • Add a little hot milk to egg yolk mixture to warm it, then stir into milk in double boiler.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until filling is thickened and smooth and there is no raw starch taste — about five minutes. Stir in flavoring if desired.
  • To prevent a skin from forming on top, cover with plastic wrap and stir occasionally during cooling.

method: buttered almond icing

  • Heat butter and margarine in a small skillet or heavy saucepan until foam on top turns a golden brown.
  • Stir occasionally. Do not over-brown or the flavour will be burnt rather than roasted.
  • Cool slightly.
  • Place icing sugar in mixing bowl and mix in cream, then gradually stir in browned butter, scraping pan well.
  • Beat until icing is smooth and creamy.
  • Assembling cake
  • Slice each 10-inch layer in half horizontally. Do not split nine-inch layers.
  • Top one cake layer with filling and repeat, topping with final cake layer.
  • Cover top and sides of cake with a thin layer of icing.
  • Immediately add almonds to top and/or sides of cake and refrigerate.

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