Posted on October 11 2011

Recipe #5: Almond-lemon tea cake

From the moment I opened the almond paste, I knew this was going to be amazing.  It was as if someone crushed up a bunch of almonds and put them in a can.  In fact, that’s exactly what they did, ensuring to punch the consumer in the face with the intense almond aroma.  A wallop in the face never felt so good. 

Is it weird that I want to spread almond paste all over my face?

When it came to breaking up the almond paste in the mixer, I wasn’t sure if the bigger problem was due to my Kitchen-Aid mixer that smells like burning when mixing anything thicker than eggs, or the fact I had bought almond paste in a can.  Not sure if canned almond paste is the norm, having never bought it before, but that’s all I found.  Regardless, I was concerned the almond paste wasn’t breaking up as it was supposed to do.  The directions read “it might take a minute,” but it’s like a teenager reading a text and trying to decipher meaning – when he said he’d talk to me later did he mean he’ll call me?, or that I should call him?, or that we’ll just talk later, like when we bump into each other somewhere???  I was that analytical girl, and I’m that analytical baker.  When she said it may take a minute, did she mean it may take a little while, or does she mean it should literally take one minute?  What if it’s taking, like, five minutes?  Is this going to be detrimental to my beloved tea cake?  Note: There is no fault with the sender of the message, just us dramatic interpreters of information. 

Stubborn almond paste.

Once I slowly incorporated the sugar, we were back on track in the arena of sheer excitement.  The vast amount of butter and sugar that goes into the final product of this tea cake ensures that whatever this is going to make is destined for glory, and certainly makes life worth living.

One cup of butter.

Two of my favorite baking moments: buttering and flouring a pan, and sifting the dry ingredients.  Have you ever tried to take a picture of yourself sifting flour?  It’s nigh impossible, folks – like patting your head and rubbing your belly is to a child, or an uncoordinated adult.  I honestly have twelve pictures in the effort to capture the beautiful sifting process on film.  I would be shaking the sifter, then I couldn’t take the picture.  Once I clicked the button, I wasn’t shaking it any longer.  This resulted in me laughing so hard that I’d be shaking the sifter and would end up with a blurry picture.

I did it, this is the best one of the bunch, which includes the beer bottle in the window.  Classy.

Perfectly fluffy stuff.

The zest, coupled with the almonds, nearly set my heart on fire. 

Every last morsel of almondy-lemony goodness making its way into the pan.

Lemon juice + orange juice + sugar = true love (Well, technically, this is the glaze that goes over the warm tea cake and crystallizes into a sugary crust)


And the final result.  The cookbook doesn’t include a picture for every recipe, as the perfectionist side of me would like to have.  Also, the pictures in the cookbook are beautiful, so one for everything would be a treat to the eye as well.  But, when there are pictures included I love comparing my final product to the way “it’s supposed to look.”  This, looks very much like the picture, which is always very exciting to behold.

As far as taste goes, I’m not exactly sure how this one ended up.  After indulging in many caramel apples, croissants, and at least half a pan of apple crisp, I’m realizing some of these goodies must be shared more.  And it was a message verified from above, sent through Khloe Kardashian as I was watching her sister’s “fairytale” wedding.  (Yeah, I  watched it, stop judging me already.  I already feel bad enough after being scolded by Martha Stewart’s tweet this morning, “I am curious-what have you learned by watching the Kardashian wedding??”  Yeah, I follow Martha Stewart on Twitter.  What of it??!)  I’m thinking it may be one of my analytical interpretation hangups again, so maybe Martha really wants to know what I learned.  Well, Khloe K prophetically reminds us “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips” as she warns her brother the bad fortune of eating a dozen tacos in one go. 

Seriously though, what a perfect day to bake this tea cake – I heard amazing news today that a friend successfully defended her dissertation (she’s a doctor now!), and another oh-so-talented friend got published!  So, this tea cake got split in two and sent away as congratulatory gifts.  Almost better than eating it myself.  That is, only if it tastes good.


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