Thatbaby got to spend his birthday at home. I wasn't so lucky. While I was working the day away, Thatbaby was going to the park, the book store, and getting spoiled rotten by our family and neighbors.
Thatbaby debated back and forth about what he wanted to do for dinner. He was certain he wanted "red pasta" but the location was undecided. For a while he wanted to eat at home, while I cooked. Then he decided he wanted to go out. One thing he was sure about was cake. He knew he wanted chocolate cake. And so that's what he got. Because what would a birthday be without cake?
I recently had a discussion about cake. For me, cake is always associated with a special event - weddings, birthdays, holidays. When was the last time you just made a cake for the heck of it? Usually it's a shared experience kind of thing, because very few eat a cake by themselves.
Quick breads on the other hand are good all the time. What's the difference really? Both are full of sugar. Both are cake-like. So why do I think cakes are a sometimes treat while banana bread is a household staple? I think it's the frosting. Frosting is the difference between a cake and a bread. Just as frosting is the difference between a cupcake and a muffin.
Sunee transformed a Swedish holiday bun into an almond saffron cake. This is the kind of cake you can have on a random weeknight, although I personally served it to company. It is unfrosted, making it similar to the bread it was inspired by.
The cake is dense and rich, but the nice thing about almond cake is that it's never overpowering. Which is nice if you want to make an average night seem a little more special.
Almond Saffron Cake (From Trail of Crumbs)
1/3 cup milk
1/2 tsp saffron threads
grated zest of an orange
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
8 oz almond paste
1 cup confectioners' sugar
5 large eggs
8 oz sour cream
- Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter and flour 2 8-inch round cake pans. Heat milkin a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Add saffron and zest. Bring to a low simmer, remove from heat, and let steep.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl.
- Stir in salt and set aside.
- Beat butter and almond paste together at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes.
- Gradually add sugar and beat until fluffy, scraping down sides.
- Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.
- Gradually add flour mixture alternately with sour cream, beating at medium speed just until blended, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pans. Shake pans gently or use spatulat to smooth tops.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
- Let cool in pan on wire racks 5 minutes. Remove from pan and serve warm, dusted with confectioners sugar.