Monday, May 24, 2010

Celebrate with Cake...Lavender Amaretto Pound Cake, that is.

Since I have been away from home for almost a year now, there are lots of things that happen in the lives of my friends and family which I have inevitably missed.  I have known about the baby born or the announced engagement, but it is difficult to celebrate over the phone or e-mail.  So this week I have spent some time celebrating.  Not only am I celebrating the end of exams and my first year of seminary, but I am celebrating being with family!  I have missed them so much and am especially happy to be able to spend some good time with my grandparents.  I am also celebrating with my friends; the addition of babies to families, the changes in vocations, or even a good hug after a long absence. 

I have made this cake four times in the past month.  The first time I made it was a trial run; the successful cake was shared with several different friends from school.  I then made it at an engagement celebration for two of our friends who are getting married this summer.  I made it again almost as soon as I arrived home, and I made another today for some friends who recently had a baby. 

Lavender Amaretto Pound Cake

1/4 cup sliced almonds
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons lavender flowers
6 large eggs, room temperature
3 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon amaretto liqueur

1/3 cup water, boiling
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur

Preheat the oven to 325.  Butter and flour a 14 cup bundt pan.  Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of almonds in the bottom of the pan.  In a mini food processor or a blender, blend the lavender flowers with 1/2 cup of the sugar, until the lavender flowers are finely chopped.  In a large bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese.  Add the lavender sugar and remaining 2 1/2 cups of sugar, and beat on medium-high speed for seven minutes.  Add the eggs, one at the time, beating until well combined.  Add the flour and salt and beat on low speed until just combined.  Add the almond extract and 1 teaspoon amaretto and mix until combined.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. 

Bake for 1 hour, 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean.  Meanwhile, combine the boiling water, sugar, and 1 tablespoon amaretto liqueur in a small bowl.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved. 

When the cake is done, let it cool in the pan for 20 minutes.  Turn it out onto a wire rack with a plate or parchment paper below.  Baste the top and sides of the cake with the amaretto syrup, leaving the crusty bottom of the cake dry. 

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Jessica @ How Sweet said...

That cake sounds absolutely delicous. I have never had a cake with lavender but I'm sure it's fabulous.

Jere said...

I wish I could be there to help you eat these last two cakes.

Lauren said...

Lavender? You are so creative!

Bumpkin on a Swing said...

Where do you buy Lavender flowers, 4 times in a month indicates is a must try for The Bumpkin

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another delicious recipe! The fact that you've made it four times in the past month speaks volumes. Can't wait to try it!

the country cook said...

That does sound excellent. I'm of the opinion that anything with almond extract must taste amazing. I too want to know - where do you get the flowers?

Barefoot Belle said...

Hey all, I've found lavender flowers at The Fresh Market (in the spice section) and Penzey's spices. I hope y'all enjoy!

grace said...

i guess that means you can make this with your eyes closed by now, and that's just awesome. :)
have fun catching up with your friends and family!

Julie M. said...

You had me at amaretto. That looks absolutely divine! I will definitely be trying it.

Snowbird said...

This sound wonderful, so you use dried Lavender flowers? I'm growing Lavender in my herb garden I guess I couldn't use fresh flowers? I would like to make this as gifts for my sisters they will love the Lavender almond combination.

Searcy said...

Thank you for having visited my blog. Yours is lovely, and I shall look forward to reading more. I adore lavender in baked goods. Such a delicate, perfumed little cake.

Leah @ Stirred, Not Shaken said...

While I love the scent of lavender, I've never eaten anything with it. Is it a strong or really unique flavor that picky guests might not like? Or is it something subtle that everybody likes and so would be safe to serve to house guests? I only ever make cakes when we have people in so I am a little nervous, but really intrigued!!!

Barefoot Belle said...

Leah, lavender can be delightful when used in moderation, but it can also be way too strong if too much is used. The two teaspoons in this will seem pretty strong when you blend them with the sugar, but they mellow out when mixed with the rest of the batter. I have served this cake to many different people, and everyone seems to love it. I think you should be fine serving it to even the pickiest of guests.