Have I ever told you that you are the best?
My mother and I have, thankfully, gotten much closer this year. I think if I removed her name from her emails, it's like one of my best friends is writing to me - she uses smiley faces and exclamation points and "likes" - seriously, maman joon, you are amazing.
The last couple of days my boyfriend and I have been eating all the tasty leftovers from last week. But I don't want my posts getting stale! After getting off the phone with my mom, I realized what I should write about - her :)My mother and I have very similar tastes - we can each go on vacation separately and come back wearing the same clothes. It's hilarious! For as long as I can remember, my mom has made me the same birthday cake (by my own request, of course): almond with whipped cream and raspberries. This past year, I got to return the favor (but maybe not 21 years of them). I replaced raspberries with strawberries, since strawberries are her fav.
Here's what you do:
Find a good pound cake recipe (I think any recipe from the Williams Sonoma cookbooks are the best) and add sour cream and a whole stick of almond paste, chopped into itty bitty pieces. I add sour cream to almost any cake I am making because I love the tang it adds and also the moisture. I also will throw in a tad of buttermilk, too. So you'd just lessen the amount of milk you use and add the buttermilk. Adding extra sour cream, I've found, doesn't mess with the recipe - you might just want to bake it a little longer. Also, most pound cake recipes call for 2 sticks of butter which I think is insane: I cut it down to about 1 1/2 and then add the sour cream (like 1/3 cup - and I use the lowfat kind; no one can tell).
Make some fresh whipped cream. I learned how to do this from my mom when I was in preschool :) so it's like a habit for me now. You just whip the cream until stiff peaks form - but don't over-beat because then you have butter. You can look up a snippet on how to do this if you're unsure on YouTube or something. For 1/2 cup of whipping cream I added about 2-3Tbs powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp almond extract - yum!!!! Almond extract is my favorite ingredient!!!!! I don't like my whipped cream too sweet, so you can add more sugar if you want to. You add this stuff when the cream starts to thicken a bit. For a cake, I'd make about 1 1/2 cups of cream, unwhipped, total = 3 cups whipped cream after all is said and done.
FYI: They now make stabilizers for whipped cream so it won't deflate. I've used these before but don't really see a difference so I'm wondering if that's because I am in Michigan - the plain land of the Midwest :)
slice and marinate in 2 Tbs of powdered sugar to render out the juices
Cut the cake in half - my mom also taught me NEVER to bake 2 cakes separately because that makes them dry. Instead, make one whole cake and split it in two after it has cooled completely. You might need to cook the cake longer - 50 min instead of 30 but it's worth it! Plop some whipped cream in the middle, layer over the strawberries, put on the second layer of cake, more whipped cream, and then the strawberries in a a pretty pattern.
There you go!
This cake is wonderful because you don't have to bother with icing the whole thing - the homey/chic look suits it just fine.