Funny where you find yourself drawing inspiration from sometimes.
The idea for this recipe came to me while sitting patiently as I bleached my hair, optimistically staring at the jars of candy colored Manic Panic I had on the coffee table. I was going to have hair the color of smashed blackberries. Long story short, for something I'd never done before, my expectations were a little high, and while I currently am rocking a gorgeous shade of pink, that was certainly not the case a week ago. I think at one point I counted about six different shades of yellow, orange, and brown in my hair. At that point I promptly went under self-inflicted house arrest until I could fix it.
During all that time spent inside, I got to thinking about my recent failed attempts in the kitchen. (You may have noticed my extended absences between posting, which were not for a lack of trying, but a lack of decent content to provide you all with.) I started getting down to the root of all the recipes that went wrong and discovered a common denominator among them all: I didn't feel sure of myself while making them. Well that needed to change!
I decided to go back to the basics. I wanted to make something familiar but with a new twist.
There are few things in life more comforting than a beautiful bundt cake, and I think that's why I love them so much. When my boyfriend and I first started dating, I baked one for our second date, and I'm pretty sure it's what guaranteed our third. They are so sweet and unassuming and really say, "homemade, with love." They're easy to make so forgiving; a real confidence booster. Did yours stick a little when removing it from the pan like mine did? Just cover that baby in a nice thick glaze! Prefer a more rustic style of decorating? A simple dusting of powdered sugar and some fresh fruit would be just as lovely. You can make them as simple or as dramatic as you'd like!
I went for the slightly more dramatic approach with this cake. Using fresh blackberries in the glaze gave it such a strikingly rich color. Replacing some of the flour with almond meal not only gives it a warmer and nuttier flavor, it also creates a more hearty texture. Adding a bit of lemon zest really ties it all together and brings a much needed brightness to each bite. This is the kind of cake that comes together so effortlessly, but really makes a statement, especially when topped with some fresh blackberries and some flowers from the garden. Bring this to your next Sunday brunch gathering and you'll be sure to wow the crowd. Psst! Mother's Day is fast approaching!
This month also just so happens to be my birthday month, and I'm so looking forward to getting to celebrate with some of my most favorite people in the world. My best friend, and fellow culinary school survivor, Kyrielle, will be here in just under a week to kick off the festivities and I really can't wait to get back in the kitchen with her and whip up something tasty for you all! Rounding out the month I'll be getting a visit from my wonderful parents and adopted sister, Midnight, the French Bulldog. Man, do I miss her little snorts and grunts!
I hope you all have a most lovely first weekend of May. I'll be spending tomorrow perusing Pike Place and picking up a few things from the holiest of holy places, Sur la Table. If you never hear from me again, I've made a nice little home among the bakeware, and I'm never leaving!
Almond Bundt cake with Blackberry glaze
Blackberries aren’t the only berry that work in this recipe, try using a mixture of berries!
For the cake:
2 ½ Cups all purpose flour
½ Cup almond meal/almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 Cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ Cups granulated sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 teaspoon lemon zest, plus more for decorating (optional)
1 Cup milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a bundt pan with nonstick spray. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt until no lumps of almond meal remain, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat your butter and sugar with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, then the extracts and zest. Scrape the bowl well if necessary. Begin adding the flour and milk to your butter mixture in thirds, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until combined. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan, smoothing it to make sure it is distributed evenly. Give the pan a light smack on the counter before baking to release any trapped air.
Bake your cake on the center rack of the oven for about 45 minutes, checking after 30. THe cake is ready when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Transfer cake to cooling rack while still in the pan, let cool to room temperature before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before glazing.
For the Glaze:
1 Cup fresh Blackberries, plus more for decorating (optional)
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
a generous pinch of salt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2-3 Cups powdered sugar
In a medium mixing bowl, smash the blackberries with a fork. Add the granulated sugar, salt, and lemon juice, set aside to allow the berries to release their juices.
Once the berries have become more soft and liquidy, strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the seeds and pulp. Make sure to really squeeze them! You should be left with a ½ Cup of juice.
Whisk together the juice and powdered sugar, going cup by cup until you reach your desired consistency. I used all 3 Cups to have a thick glaze, but could really taste the sweetness of the powdered sugar in the end product.
Drizzle glaze over completely cooled bundt cake until desired amount of coverage is reached. Garnish the cake with fresh blackberries and long strips of lemon zest, if desired.