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almond cake with chocolate and amaretto buttercream + a giveaway

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I often forget about it; not about celebrating my own mother, of course, but about that fact that it is now a day for others to celebrate my contribution to their life. I am a Mom every day – I get two littles up for school each morning; guide them through dressing and eating and brushing teeth while cramming folders and lunch boxes into back packs. I wait at bus stops. I take breaks from working and baking to fold laundry, change pillow cases, pick up toys. I make dinner, I help with homework. I am a story teller, a song singer. I close my book at night when little feet quietly make their way into my room, needing hugs or more songs, or reassurance in the dark. I am always listening, checking, double-checking, holding, awake while sleeping, hoping, helping. But still, somehow, I forget I’m the Mom. Because there is still 10-year old me inside, singing along to Amy Grant all afternoon and lost in Nancy Drew stories. Fifteen year old me is there, dreaming about boys and crying over journal entries. Twenty year old me is over-spiritualizing her life and trying not to bounce every check she writes. Twenty-five year old me is married and can actually sleep through the night without being afraid. Thirty year old me is pregnant for the first time and finally seeing a therapist. And now there is almost 40 year old me, the woman trying to make sense of aging while still so aware of all the other, younger Sarahs lingering inside. Not Mom, then Mom, then both together, for the remaining miles of the journey.

It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own

-Mary Oliver, from The Journey

I think I will celebrate the big Day this year with a fabulous cake, for both myself and my own Mother. I’m excited to share the one pictured above with you: an almond cake with chocolate and Amaretto buttercream. Andre Prost sent me several boxes of their imported Odense Almond Paste (from Odense, Denmark) to experiment with.  It is made in a factory where only almonds are used so there is no risk of other nut allergies in this cake. If you have never used almond paste, it is found in the baking section of the supermarket. I love almond paste in so many applications (paired with puff pastry, especially, and also in a Danish braid), but I had never used it in a straight up yellow cake. I love the way it turned out; the cake is rich and full of almond flavor, without the need for extra almond extract. Amaretto is an under-used liqueur in my cabinet, and it pairs nicely with the cake and thin layer of chocolate (side note: on the rare occasion I order a drink when I’m out on the town, I do always get an amaretto sour. I’ve also been informed that this is an old lady drink, but dang, it’s so good!). The flowers on this cake are inspired by the lovely Molly Yeh and her own fabulous cake. She has a lot of good links posted for making flowers, and I have a few more at the bottom of the post, too.

Giveaway: Enter for a chance to win 6 boxes of Odense Almond Paste! Leave a comment below with your email for a chance to win. No special comment is required, but if you want to let me know what cookbooks you are currently baking/cooking out of, I would love that. Winners will be picked one week from today, May 9th.

This post is sponsored by Odense Almond Paste. As always, all opinions are my own. You can find more recipes using almond paste on their website.

Almond Cake with Chocolate and Amaretto Buttercream
This recipe is based on both the Yellow Cake and the Swiss Meringue Buttercream from my book, The Vanilla Bean Baking Book. You can use 9-inch cake pans here; just note they will bake a little bit quicker. The cakes take a little longer to bake than normal because of the added almond paste. If you feel your cake tops are browning too quickly, you can place a piece of foil loosely over the tops. My cooked cakes were a little more golden brown than usual, but tasted fantastic.

Cake
7 ounces Odense almond paste, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups (297g) sugar
3 large eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups (284g) all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks; 227g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into 1-inch pieces

Amaretto Buttercream
8 large egg whites
2 ¼ cups (446g) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 ½ pounds (6 sticks; 678g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons Amaretto liqueur
3 ounces (85g) bittersweet chocolate, melted (to use after the cake is cooled)

For the cake
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour two 8 by 2-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Place the almond paste and sugar in a food processor. Pulse until the almond paste is finely ground and the mixture resembles sand.

In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, sour cream, and buttermilk.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the sugar and almond paste mixture, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low until combined. With the mixer running on low, add the butter one piece at a time, beating until the mixture resembles coarse sand. With the mixer still running on low, slowly add half the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. with the mixer running on low, add the rest of the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 20 seconds (the batter may still look a little bumpy). Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, and use a spatula to mix the batter a few more times.

Divide the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Tap the pans gently on the counter 2 times to help get rid of any bubbles. Bake 35 to 50 minutes (see note above), rotating the pans halfway through, until the cake are golden brown and a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, and let cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream
Put about an inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a gentle boil.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir the egg whites, sugar, and salt until combined. Put the bowl over the saucepan, being careful not to let the water touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir with a rubber spatula until the sugar is completely melted, and the mixture reaches a temperature of 160F, about 4 to 5 minutes. While you are stirring, be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl with the spatula—this will ensure no sugar grains are lurking on the sides and will help prevent the egg whites from cooking.

Remove the bowl from the heat and place it in the stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whisk the mixture on medium-high until stiff, glossy peaks form, 8 to 10 minutes.

With the mixer running on low, add the butter, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition until incorporated and the buttercream is smooth. Add the amaretto and vanilla. Beat on low until combined.

To assemble
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut each layer of the cake in half horizontally, to make a total of four layers, and place the layers on the prepared baking sheets, cut sides down. Top three of the layers with a thin coating of chocolate (1 ounce on each piece), spreading it thin and evenly along the whole surface of each layer. Let the chocolate set before frosting the cake (you can put the layers in the freezer for 2 or 3 minutes to speed this up).

Put one cake layer, chocolate side up, on a turntable or serving plate and top with ¾ cup of buttercream. Repeat with two more chocolate-covered layers and then top with the remaining, chocolate-free layer. Frost the cake as desired.

Some help with flowers
Cupcake Jemma has tons of great videos and tutorials.
Piping Peonies
More flowers

  • Reply
    Leah
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    This cake is gorgeous!

    I’ve been obsessed with Molly Yeh’s cookbook ‘Molly on the Range’ recently. She has a lot of recipes that use (or could easily use) almond paste!

  • Reply
    Lacey Stanage
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    Almond is truly one of the best cake flavors! It’s not a cookbook, but I am currently cooking my way through another one of my favorite blogs, Lady and Pups!

  • Reply
    Sue
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    The flowers are lovely but something that in my less-than-capable hands would probably look like something out of Little Shop of Horrors. But I’ll settle any day for just a tasty almond cake with buttercream and chocolate!

  • Reply
    Liz | Flour de Liz
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Your flowers are beautiful! Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  • Reply
    Liz
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    This is beautiful! I have been liking a lot of the recipes out of the Whole 30 cook book lately!

  • Reply
    martina
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10:27 pm

    I love almost paste! I made these recently and they blew everyone’s minds:
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2016/09/plum-squares-with-marzipan-crumble/
    Current cookbook love is Paris Pastry Club, the crepes are worth the book on their own.

  • Reply
    Margot
    Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    I checked Molly’s cookbook out from the library, then had to buy purely because I had found someone who liked marzipan and tahini paste as much as I do. I am also baking a lot from “Classic German Baking” and have made a good handful of recipes from your book since I got it in January. I would never have the patience to make those roses.

  • Reply
    Taste of France
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:07 am

    I must admit I am not a fan of almond-flavored cakes, but I am saving your beautiful flower decoration for future inspiration.

  • Reply
    Melanie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:28 am

    I may try to make this for Mother’s Day since it’s also my fiance’s mom’s birthday that day! Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    The Sprinkle Baker
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Think about almond paste in MACARONS. Yummmmmmm. That would be a fun experiment!!! Right now, I love and bake out of Sally’s Baking Addiction, and Kamran Siddiqi’s Hand Made Baking.

  • Reply
    Ginger Stark
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 8:42 am

    I’m on my 3rd cake from the Vintahe Cakes Cookbook. Also having fun with the Dorie’s Cookies Cookbook.

    • Reply
      Ginger Stark
      Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 8:43 am

      *Vintage

  • Reply
    fatimah
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:11 am

    i’ve never used almond paste before but i have tried molly yehs valentine cake, yum. i’m currently going through sweeter off the vine from yossy arefi loads of spring baking inspiration! this cake is lovely! xx

    • Reply
      Linda
      Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Such a beautiful cake, I would love to try the recipe if only for my love of almond paste. As for the frosting I don’t think my decorating skills are up to it. But thank you for the inspiration. I bake mostly from recipes I’ve collected from my mom and love Kamran Siddiqi’s Hand Made Baking cookbook as well as Dawn Casale & Dave Crofton’s One Girl Cookies cookbook.

  • Reply
    Shauna | Linden & Lavender
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:18 am

    What a lovely post, Sarah. I’m right there with you in thinking that mother’s day is not for me but for my mom and my husband’s mother. I guess it is because we’re so young at heart! I’ll take your lead and bake a cake for my mom and I. Happy Mother’s Day to you.

  • Reply
    Casey H
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Almost too pretty to eat. But it’s cake.. so…yum!

  • Reply
    Theresa C.
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:26 am

    The flowers on the cake are beautiful! I have never used Almond Paste before and will have to give it a try.

  • Reply
    Anne Tokos
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I have never been tempted to make Buttercream Roses before, but between your cake and Molly’s I am thinking I have to try! I’ve been baking from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and Scandinavian Baking by Trina Hahnemann the last few weeks. But just brought home American Cake by Anne Byrn from the library and that may just be a bake- your- way- through- it.

  • Reply
    Aliyah
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:32 am

    Hi, I am from Trinidad and Tobago, am I qualified to enter this competition?

  • Reply
    Melanie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Absolutely beautiful! This is the perfect cake for a bridal shower!

  • Reply
    Ruth
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:48 am

    I’m currently getting inspiration from Sarah Owen’s “Sourdough” cookbook, plus honestly a lot of food blogs including yours. Cupcake Jemma is one of my faves too! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenny
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:50 am

    I so adore you and this post. You put motherhood right on spot. Thank you for that. This cake looks amazing, I only hope I have some amaretto in the cabinet;). As for the almond paste, love that stuff.

  • Reply
    Maureen
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I’ve always wanted to bake with almond paste. It’s such a great flavor. I’m currently trying to learn to bake with a digital scale and I’m reading Bouchon Bakery. I’m also reading Sweetielicious Pies by Linda Hundt because I was inspired by the pbs show “A few great pie places”. And I’m revisiting an old favorite, the wooden spoon dessert book by Marilyn Moore.

  • Reply
    Judith in DC
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:03 am

    This looks lovely. My go-to baking book right now is the Brown Betty Cookbook, written by the co-owner of a wonderful bakery in Philadelphia who is also an accomplished civil rights lawyer and law professor. Brown Betty cakes are rich and beautifully finished, much like this almond confection looks.

  • Reply
    Kelly
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Lovely post and cake!

  • Reply
    grace
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

    almond paste is a magical ingredient! i rarely buy it but use it up almost immediately! i like it stuffed into croissants… 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary Rooks
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:45 am

    I also have used the almond paste called for in the apple cake in Classic German Baking. I am currently exploring Maureen Abood’s cookbook Rose Water and Orange Blossoms.

  • Reply
    Natalie R
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This cake is stunning! I love anything with almond flavoring in it but hate when it tastes all chemically.. I have to give almond paste a try and see if it tastes better 🙂

    Current Cookbook – Sally’s Baking Addiction (made the Chocolate Glazed Orange Macaroons for Easter and they were divine!)

  • Reply
    Kristin
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Mostly lately, I’ve been baking bread from a very old Red Star Yeast cookbook. But this recipe makes me want to bake cake!

  • Reply
    Connie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:15 am

    Great giveaway! Really like your recipes and photos. Just made mandel bread with marzipan am totally into almond pastes!

  • Reply
    Monica Sharman
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:16 am

    I would love to enter: MonicaSharman [at] yahoo [dot] com — Ever since my son learned German and told me about almond stollen, I tried making a stollen. I used my VitaMix to try making almond paste, which worked out okay, but I’d love to try it (and your cake recipe!) using store-bought almond paste.

    My son wants cookbooks for when he moves out of the college dorm and into an apartment, so I got him a spiral-bound Betty Crocker as well as The Skinnytaste Cookbook (in case he’s interested in lower-calorie cooking). I hope to flip through Skinnytaste before I give it to him.

    • Reply
      Monica Sharman
      Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:20 am

      P.S. I just read your “About” page. I love Neruda’s Odes, too! In fact, in addition to the two cookbooks, I got that book (All Odes …) for the same son, because one of his majors is Spanish Language & Literature!

  • Reply
    Hannah Messinger
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Gosh, I love Mary Oliver. A friend of mine just illustrated “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” Great stuff!

  • Reply
    MaryEllen Reimers
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I love all of Sally’s cookbooks (Sally’s Baking Addiction, Sally’s Candy Addiction), and Shelly Jarownski (Cookies and Cups)!!

  • Reply
    Marykate
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Beautiful cake! Chez Panisse Desserts + German Baking /Luissa Weiss

  • Reply
    Michelle Elwell
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

    currently reading through Dinner: Changing the Game and trying to restock my cupboard with all the necessary spices!

  • Reply
    Brenda Haines
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I use my Great Grandma’s recipe index cards and her Better Homes New Cookbook.

  • Reply
    Margo Ashford
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:58 am

    Would love to win for my Baking Class.

  • Reply
    Casey
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Currently reading out of” The Chew- A year of recipes ” cookbook !

  • Reply
    Kristin Goodson
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I love to bake! I try different recipes I find online.

  • Reply
    Linda L.
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I love, love, love Odense almond paste – my mother used to make pastries with it when I was a kid and I would hang around, pretending to be helping, in the hopes there would be little bits left that I could have. If they were big enough, I would sculpt them into animals which I would then devour. That started me on a lifelong marzipan addiction 😉 which, by the way, I have no intention of seeking treatment for!!
    I’m glad to see the cake recipe – so many people think it’s just for add-ons like flowers or animal sculptures but there are so many ways you can use it. It’s not a cookbook but the Odense site has lots of recipes for both almond paste and marzipan.
    Those flowers are a work of art!

  • Reply
    Joyce S
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 12:40 pm

    I can only begin to imagine how wonderful this tastes. On the other hand, it would be impossible for me to actually cut that beautiful cake into slices.

  • Reply
    Karen Oliver
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Almond is my favorite flavor. I love your cake and your story. Sounds a lot like me when I was your age. I am way older now and often times feel like a kid. I am awaiting my first grandchild after thinking that would never happen. Yippee! I am going to be a grandmother! I am enjoying making peasant bread from “Bread Toast Crumbs by Alexandra Stafford and also into making pizza. Today I made some peanut butter snickerdoodles and Hawaiian sloppy joes on homemade Hawaiian rolls. As you can see, I love being in the kitchen. Thanks for the opportunity to “win” the Odense almond paste. I would enjoy using it some of the recipes on their website.

  • Reply
    Kristen @ Dinner for Two Blog
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    The flowers are so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Sarah C
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    My name is Sarah! I am a younger 19 year old Sarah who will be inside of an older 40 year old Sarah soon. I hope I don’t dream of boys anymore.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    What a pretty cake! The Four & Twenty Blackbirds Pie Book is my go to.

  • Reply
    Bailey Cate
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Lovely cake!!

  • Reply
    stephanie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    This cake is stunning! I adore almond paste! (Mary Oliver is my FAVORITE.)

  • Reply
    Emily
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    That cake is beautiful! When I worked as a baker, they let me make as many cakes as I wanted, but I had to stay far away from the decorating (even my cupcake frosting was a mess). On the savory side, I’ve been having fun with the Jerusalem cookbook lately; on the sweet, I’m on an all things Dorie Greenspan kick (but am I ever not, really?).

  • Reply
    Paige
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I used to live in Denmark and miss all of the pastries and cakes filled with marzipan! I can’t wait to make this cake 🙂

  • Reply
    Stephanie Schoch
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Loving the Gjelina cookbook right now. I’m obsessed with all things almond and this cake is gorgeous!

    Xx

  • Reply
    Aileen
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    this is the perfect mothers day cake! im currently reading/baking through Milk Bar’s cookbook, love it

  • Reply
    Linn
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    I’m dying to try your chocolate buttercream!

  • Reply
    Landen
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    I have baked a few things out of Savour, by Ilona Oppenheimer, and I have been very impressed. Her pine nut cookies were amazing!

  • Reply
    Katie McCleery
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    I love Almond everything! I’m reading “The Foothills Cuisine of Blackberry Farm”.

  • Reply
    Raylene DeSanto
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous! Almond is one of my favorite flavors so I will have to try your recipe! Have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Judy Lederer
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I grew up on marzipan, and adore baking with almond paste-my newest favorite are the almond horns, found in Classic German Baking and the lovely memoir by Gesine bullock-Prado “my Life from Scratch”

  • Reply
    Lauren
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I love almond cakes!

  • Reply
    Syd
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I just discovered your book and blog!! I can’t wait to try these recipes. My current favorite books also include Dorie’s Cookies and the Birchwood Cafe cookbook!

  • Reply
    Margot
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Oh gosh. On a bad day I eat that almond paste right out of the box. No shame.

  • Reply
    Julie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Yum, almond paste is wonderful! There are so many delicious ways to use it. I’m enjoying Sweet Sugar, Sultry Spice right now.

  • Reply
    Andrea
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    such a gorgeous cake! simultaneously trying to make delicious things with Huckleberry + learn the art of gluten with Flour Water Salt Yeast

  • Reply
    Jennie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    Beautiful cake! And almond cake is wonderful. I’ve typically made a Dutch almond cake. But I should try this one…

  • Reply
    Rana Durham
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    i love to try out almond paste and the caker is gorgeous.

  • Reply
    Katherine
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    I have your cookbook and Simple checked out from the library and am cooking out of those. I’m making your chocolate meringue pie for Mom’s Day!

  • Reply
    Dorothea
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:47 pm

    I love all things almond, and can’t wait to try your recipe – it sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Payton Ivancic
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    payton.ivancic@gmail.com

  • Reply
    Mary
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Love, love, love to use almond paste! Your cake is beautiful! Have been baking out of Sweeter Off the Vine by Yossi Arefi; Classic German Baking by Luisa Weiss; And The Vanilla Bean Baking Book!

  • Reply
    Helen
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve been baking from a book that screams Odense Almond Paste: Luisa Weber’s Classic German Baking. So many great Almond Paste-based recipes. Thanks for your great recipe. Beautiful photo too.

  • Reply
    Ryan
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm

    Yum!

  • Reply
    Anna
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    Currently, I have been utilizing Adriana’s Cozy Kitchen cook book! I love how it’s broken up into seasons because I believe that seasonal baking is the only sort of baking!

  • Reply
    Jessie
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 10:36 pm

    Wow, this cake is glorious. And with almond paste, it must be so moist! I think I use a different cookbook everytime I cook. I used the King Arthur Flour bakers companion to make quiche; and the JAR bakebook to make tollhouse pie. Um…this is a cookbook that I started to compile when I was 13, and it’s evolved to four binders full of hole punched recipes covered in my handwritten notes. LOL! 🙂

  • Reply
    carol clark
    Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    such pretty pics ccntx@live.com

  • Reply
    farah
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 12:01 am

    Oh wow! that’s a very gorgeous cake.

  • Reply
    Katherine
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 12:06 am

    I’ve been baking out of Molly on the Range. I’ve also been baking from Jerusalem!

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 12:13 am

    I grew up eating marzipan at Christmas and it’s still a favorite flavor of mine.
    I’m a cake decorator and I’ve always wanted to cover a cake in marzipan but the cost is too prohibitive.

  • Reply
    kelli winter
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 3:41 am

    I just got Melissa Clark’s new book, Dinner and am waiting for Sunday to page through it. I love Dorie Greenspan’s Cookies it’s like a cookie Bible. Also recently got the Baker’s Appendix which is indispensable, a must have for everyone! And of course your book is awesome too?

  • Reply
    Melissa Novotny
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 6:40 am

    So gorgeous!!! Must try it right now.

  • Reply
    Michele
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 6:46 am

    Some of my favorite flavors, andbsuch a pretty cake. Can’t wait to make it!

  • Reply
    Nora
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Gorgeous cake! And wonderful thoughts on being a mother?? I use almond paste to make pignoli. I am loving the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion baking cookbook.

  • Reply
    Haley | Brewing Happiness
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 7:43 am

    I’d give my left foot to be as dainty and beautiful as this cake. lol.

  • Reply
    Tessa | Salted Plains
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Beautiful post – Happy Mother’s Day to you!!!

  • Reply
    Brenna
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 9:00 am

    I’ve been reading the Love & Lemons Cookbook, and your Vanilla Bean Cookbook! Thank you for all your beautiful recipes, Sarah.

    Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Jodi
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 11:01 am

    This cake is gorgeous, Sarah – but your words are even more so. I too was an Amy Grant lipsyncer and a journal cryer. Thirty now and thinking about becoming a mom and finally loving myself enough to see a therapist as well. It’s all a journey. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and those of Mary Oliver – it’s a beautiful post. xx

  • Reply
    Maria
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Aaaah, I love amaretto! I made a similar almond cake for our wedding years ago and amaretto in the filling would be so delicious!!! Must try soon. Also, man my piping skills need some serious work. Those peony flowers are gorgeous!!!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 3:55 pm

    Looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply
    Heidi
    Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Have your shortbread chilling in the fridge- can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 1:05 am

    This is so beautiful

  • Reply
    SandraM
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 9:08 am

    I have only just started using almond paste this year in baking (can’t believe it took so long).
    Currently I have three books on the go (cookbooks): Back Pocket Pasta, Food52 Baking and The Vanilla Bean Baking Book (am making the oatmeal cookies with white chocolate and raisins this weekend I hope). Oh and Joy the Bakers new book Over Easy.?
    So many great books, so little time (to bake it all)!

  • Reply
    Lili @ Travelling oven
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Such a beautiful cake! And I love, love marzipan so this would be perfect for me!

  • Reply
    Sara @ Cake Over Steak
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    I love amaretto sours!!! Your blog posts and your cakes are always beautiful. Happy Mother’s Day!

  • Reply
    Davena
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    This looks amazing!

    I’m looking forward to cook out of Sunday Suppers by Karen Mordechai. 🙂

  • Reply
    Modish Taste | almond cake with chocolate and amaretto buttercream + a giveaway
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    […] Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I often forget about it; not about celebrating my own mother, of course, but about that fact that it is now a day for others to celebrate my contribution to t […]

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    Jessi Cross
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I am so going to try this! I am currently baking (obsessively) out of The Vanilla Bean Baking Book! I love your recipes, and I’m learning so much! My regulars right now are your scone recipes and your granola, but my other more special-occasion favorites include the lemon bread, various iterations of party cakes with the yellow or chocolate cake base, the chocolate sugar cookies, and various no-churn ice creams. Your cookbook has brought such joy to my family’s life!

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    DiklaLF
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    What a beautiful post! What you Did with word is just pure magic.The cake is true art! I guess no use to email this cake recipe to my husband as a request for mother’s day since he’ll take it as a shopping list…?. Well, my 6 year old self will keep dreaming…

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    Jennifer
    Friday, May 5, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    Look forward to be making the above recipe. Currently love making recipes from the “Baked” series of cookbooks!

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    Erin M.
    Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 6:29 am

    I’m currently loving the Back in the Day Bakery cookbooks! Everything I’ve made has been a hit so far!

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    Abby
    Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 8:38 am

    So completely gorgeous! I ‘m currently tweaking my own cinnamon roll recipe from Gluten Free Artisan Baking in 5 Min a Day.

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    Chandna
    Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    I’m really looking forward to get my hands on the Kale and Caramel cookbook, along with Green Kitchen Smoothies because summer is just around the corner!

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    Liz
    Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 10:25 pm

    “The Vanilla Bean Baking Book” is a favorite – between my mom and I, we’ve made your coffee blondies and banana bread at least four times in the past month! Yum!

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    Amy Chen
    Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    That is a beautifully exquisite looking cake! The flowers are lovely forms in a distinctive color palette. And on top of it all you had me at almond cake!

    I love your writing here as it often resonates with me…thank you for sharing. I’m looking forward to reading more Mary Oliver too.

    I’m also looking forward to cooking out of Amy Chaplin’s At Home In The Whole Food Kitchen.

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    Tammy Hardt
    Sunday, May 7, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    I have yet to bake with almond paste. This cake seems like a wonderful place to start using it! I think I need to track down The Vanilla Bean Baking Book as well.

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    Lynn Luckeroth
    Monday, May 8, 2017 at 1:24 am

    Simply Beautiful!!

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    Jilliann M
    Monday, May 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    I love how you decorated that cake! I use the internet more than I do a cookbook. I love that there are reviews from people who’ve already made the recipe!

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    Rebecca
    Monday, May 8, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I love this Mary Oliver poem, and can definitely relate to the versions of yourself through the years. I’m not a mother as yet, but love the way you described the process.

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    Kris O
    Monday, May 8, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    What a gorgeous cake

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    Mimi Chau
    Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 12:39 am

    One of the cookbooks I’m into right now is the Huckleberry cookbook by Zoe Nathan! The pictures are so beautiful!

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    Judith
    Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 10:28 am

    this looks beautiful and delicious

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    Brooke
    Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    This is a beautiful Mother’s Day cake- thanks for sharing! Also winning almond paste would be awesome 🙂

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    Marcela Rice
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 12:15 am

    I was at the library today and found your cookbook. The cover and title caught my eye and I checked the book out. I also learned about this blog and I am hooked. I’m so excited for all the recipes I’m going to try and exploring your blog.
    I’m sure your cookbook will be the next book I buy. Thank you for being outstanding!
    Anything almond is a favorite so almond paste should be a winner .

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    Carolyn McFann
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    I love almond anything so this would be a great prize for me! I use an old Better Homes & Gardens cookbook, also a Good Housekeeping Cookbook.

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    Hanne
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    So eloquently put. Not a mom. Then a mom. This will be my first mother’s day since my kids moved out of the country. Strange and beautiful. My mom is dead but i know she would be proud that her two grandchildren have wandering feet like she did. Your cake and photos are nonpareil. Reading your writing always inspires. -Hanne

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    Julia
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    What a beautiful cake! I’m currently working my way through the Smitten Kitchen cookbook.

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    Caitlin
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 8:59 pm

    Gorgeous!

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    Huong
    Wednesday, May 10, 2017 at 9:25 pm

    I just made this today, but as cupcakes. It did not work! The batter spilled way over the sides despite being filled less than 1/2 full. The middles rose then fell such that the center of the cakes were really shallow. The flavor was great, but these weren’t presentable. I’ll try again but as 8″ rounds. I had similar problems with the regular yellow cake recipe as cupcakes.

    I did make buttercream roses, they’re pretty and waiting for a cake to sit on!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I’m so sorry the cupcakes didn’t turn out for you! There was an error in the recipe – the sugar was listed twice, so that might have been the problem. I had fixed the recipe last week, but I had some issues with my web host, and they somehow put the original version back up when my web page was redirected. I’m so sorry!!! I’ve fixed it again. So if you used 3 cups of sugar, that’s the problem. The 1 1/2 cups of sugar should be pulsed with the almond paste, and then mixed in with the other dry ingredients, but only 1 1/2 cups of sugar should be used total.

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    Victoria Z
    Friday, May 12, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Absolutely stunning cake!

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    Shikha @ Shikha la mode
    Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 1:42 am

    I realize I’m too late for the giveaway but I still learned about that almond paste, which I’ve been looking for!

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    Kate
    Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    ?

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    thefolia
    Wednesday, May 24, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    Enjoy the journey Mama, and the cake of course! Happy feasting.

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    Corky
    Friday, June 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I want to try this gorgeous cake as a mother-daughter project when my daughter visits me in a couple of weeks. I’m an experienced baker but I’ve never tried this kind of decorating with icing. My question – is the buttercream recipe enough to frost the cake and make all the roses? Or should I make more? Any hints on how to get those lovely colors? I’ve borrowed a set of icing tips, have looked at the videos, and I’m ready to go!

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    Jenna
    Thursday, June 8, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    Hi! I just made the cake and it was beautiful. While I adored the sponge, I found the buttercream tasted more like butter than anything else. 6 sticks was just so much… I was wondering if reducing the amount of butter would work with the frosting recipe in the future?

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    Laura
    Sunday, June 18, 2017 at 10:56 am

    What a cute and fun recipe! I love it!

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    Kate Wood
    Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 8:58 am

    The other younger Sarahs lingering inside…

    This is beautiful. You articulated so many good things. Thank you for sharing!

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    Diego Lopes
    Monday, July 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I know mother’s day is past, but my mom’s bday is coming up and I’m glad I found this post. Gonna make this cake for her!!

  • Reply
    How To Make Rich Plum Cake | India High Tech News
    Friday, July 7, 2017 at 6:50 pm

    […] turned out; the cake is rich and full of almond flavor, without the need for extra almond extract. [8] Brown Betty cakes are rich and beautifully finished, much like this almond confection looks. […]

  • Reply
    Hadi from Niche Beasts
    Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    What an awesome and fun recipe! loved it 🙂

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    Erin
    Friday, April 20, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    The cake part was great! I tried to make the icing twice, though, and both times it came out looking curdled at the very end.

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    Nanda Garber
    Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ve been making the loaf cakes from the Milk St Kitchen cookbook. This week was the Pistachio Cardamom cake for Teacher Appreciation week. It was delicious! Another olive oil cake that it easy and delicious. The French Spice cake was also delicious, next up is the Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread.

    Just want to let you know that this post never came through in my email. Last one I received was the chocolate olive oil cake. Not sure why…

  • Reply
    Nanda Garber
    Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    This looks amazing! I’ve been making the loaf cakes from the Milk St Kitchen cookbook. This week was the Pistachio Cardamom cake for Teacher Appreciation week. It was delicious! Another olive oil cake that it easy and delicious. The French Spice cake was also delicious, next up is the Brown Butter Cardamom Banana Bread.

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