Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Butter (Almond) Cake


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I love a good butter cake. There's nothing quite like having a rich, velvety slice of golden sunshine with an aromatic cuppa Earl Grey. Once in a while, that is. If only butter cakes weren't so waistline-unfriendly, I'd have a slice everyday.

My fall-back recipe for butter cake has always been this one (I have made an orange version with it too). It has a very high liquid content, and uses the easy "creaming method" which yields a delightfully tender cake that is not too heavy on the tum ... even after the third slice.

I have also tried the "combination method", ie, whip the whites separately before folding them into the yolk/butter batter. This method gives you a taller, fluffier butter cake which is more sponge-like. If I have the time, I always prefer the "combination method" for the finer texture it gives. Yes, I am such a stickler for height and texture! Maybe I will do a separate post on this another day.

BUT, on crazy weekdays, when even washing an extra bowl is a nuisance, the "creaming method" wins hand down. Walkover. No fight.


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This time, I decided to tweak the recipe by just a little. As I had about 50g of ground almond (almond meal) left over from making macarons, I decided to add that into the cake. And it was bree-lee-iant! The cake was moist and buttery, with subtle hints of nuttiness ... not unlike a sugee cake. It was WOW WEE at every bite! ;)

The important thing is not to add too much almonds, so that the flavour of butter still takes centrestage. I thought 50g ground almond was just about right. What a lucky fluke! Of course you can use other types of grounded nuts, although the flavour of the cake will certainly differ. I would personally stick to almonds.

If you need to whip up a simple teatime cake under short notice, give this a try. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much flavour and depth this deceptively plain-looking cake can deliver.

Recipe
- 145g all-purpose flour
- 50g ground almonds (almond meal)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 170g butter, softened
- 170g sugar
- 1 large egg, plus one large egg yolk (I used 2 small whole eggs and it was fine)
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 12 tbsp whole milk


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1. Preheat oven to 190ºC. Butter and line a 9-inch cake pan.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt.

3. Using a mixer on medium speed, cream butter and sugar until fluffy for about about 2 minutes.

4. Beat in egg, egg yolk and vanilla until well-combined.

5. On low speed, add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with milk.*
* Split the flour into 1/2, 1/4 and 1/4 portions (approximately). The first time you add in the flour, use the 1/2 portion. The reason for this is because the first addition of flour will be fully coated with the fat and does not form gluten (gluten is what makes a cake tough), so it is a good idea to add more flour at the first stage. I found Joy of Baking to be an excellent resource for butter cakes.

6. Switch mixer to medium and beat for 10 to 15 seconds, just until batter appears uniform.

7. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with spatula or knife.

8. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until it reaches a dark-gold color and an inserted cake tester comes out clean.

9. Let to rest in pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cake stand or platter. Sift with icing sugar if desired.


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43 comments:

  1. The colour and shape of your butter cake help up really well! The edges and surfaces are perfectly sharp and horizontal haha. Mine always looks weird lol. Will try the almond meal too, next time! =D

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  2. Very beautiful golden brown. The cake looks very good.

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  3. Ate two pieces of my marbled butter cake yesterday and felt guilty afterwards. Yes, I'd eat this every day if it doesn't do anything to my size.

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  4. Ju...you are the Queen of cake. Always the perfect slice...not a crumb out of place! This looks delicious! I have almond meal in my freezer....hmmmmmmmm....

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  5. Ju.. I have just made 2 different almond cakes..they are such winners here..yours looks like a delicate little pastry..
    :) I find what you bake reminds me of you:)

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  6. Simply fulfilling! Sometimes we need to take a break from very complex recipes which takes about 15-20 words to make up its title (that includes the use of the word with several times)and just crave for that nice and familiar tastes of butter and nuts...Fulfilling!

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  7. Anna: You hit the nail on the head (and made me laugh)! I am a huge fan of simple, honest food. :)

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  8. i think the baking fairy decided to stay with you forever..gorgeous looking cake

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  9. I always opt for creaming method, I"m that lazy :P

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  10. hi Ju, may i know when is the best time to put the ground almond?

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  11. Hi angelin: Thanks for the question. I missed that out! Anyway, I have amended it (see point 2) ... basically, whisk the almond meal together with the flour, baking powder and salt. :)

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  12. Great Pictures! The lighting is perfect!
    Thanks for sharing
    Charlie
    13 year old food blogger
    www.charliebakes.blogspot.com

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  13. Hi Ju,
    Your recipe never fails! And your picture is ever so pretty! I tried your moist butter cake previously and I'm sticking to it for life! ;)

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  14. Oh! Great idea. I have a small amount of almond meal left too!

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  15. Love your blog, yummy recipes and beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing!:)

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  16. Very good looking cake. I wish to have some for my afternoon tea!

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  17. I made this last night for my mum's gathering at home, and it is so yummy... I used only 150g of sugar instead of 170g. They loved it so much. Thanks for the recipe Ju...

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  18. I love butter cake too! I will have to try this out. You always make even the simplest, plainest cake look so pretty and delicious with your photos!

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  19. Hi! Just found your blog yesterday and am now addicted to it :P

    What kind of butter did you use to make this butter cake: salted or unsalted? I have this can of Golden Churned Butter which was given to me by my friend. I noticed that the ingredients are butter, water and salt. As it has already contained salt, do I still need to add in the 1/2 tsp of salt? Thanks!

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  20. worldangel: Thanks! Yes, if you are using salted butter, don't add salt. I personally always use unsalted butter ... and I am not loyal to any brand.

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  21. Sorry, another question (as I am going to try to make this today!):

    Do we just use 1 large egg (with the yolk) then a yolk from another egg? Or just 1 large egg with yolk is more than enough? Thanks!

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  22. Tried this recipe. Didn't work out. Temperature too high

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  23. Shoba: Get your oven temperature checked. It worked for me and for another reader, Geraldine.

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  24. This recipe is definitely going to be laminated! I was inspired by your CNY gold bullion idea and decided to make some with this recipe. They turned out brilliant!! Lovely hint of nuttiness and oh so moist. My mini loaf pans are the same size as the your wilton pans - I managed to get 10 mini loafs exactly. Baked them in a fan forced oven at 160 deg celcius for 20 mins and they came out very pretty :) Thank you so much for such a brilliant recipe! My work mates and in laws (recipients of the bullions) also thank you ! :D

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  25. Hi Wen, this is great news! I made this cake for CNY too. :) Am so happy the recipients of your gold bullions liked it. Well done! :D

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  26. Great recipe, will try this weekend....

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  27. Hi. I attempted this recipe and did everything exactly as you explained except I used mini loaf pan instead. I am not sure why but they puffed up like souffles in the oven. Then when I took them out they flattened after a couple minutes just like a souffle would do if left out for too long. Do you have any idea what may have happened? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cristein, I can't think of anything else except the wrong size pan? Especially if you have done exactly as the recipe stated. Sorry it didn't work out ...

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    2. Ju, Don't get me wrong! They still taste FABULOUS. :) I think I just didn't expect them to puff up and that is what caught me off guard. I will definitely make these again. This recipe as been put in my permanent vault. Thank you. :)

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    3. Hi Cristein, I was thinking, maybe the lack of "space" in the pan forced the batter to rise too quickly, too much? That could perhaps contribute to a weak structure of the cake, which led to the deflating? OMG, do I sound like Sherlock? :O Anyhow, if you try this again, I hope it turns out perfect. :)

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  28. Hi,

    I'm Geraldine. How would the cake be affected if I switch to using cake flour instead of all-purpose? Would I need to change the quantity of other ingredients as well?

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    1. Hi Geraldine, you definitely can use cake flour (or top flour). No need to change anything. The cake will just be slightly more tender. HTH.

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    2. I tried baking the cake and my family loved it! Trying the recipe for the first time, I found the cake to be nicely buttered. I added silvered almond on top to decorate. Thank you for the recipe!

      My friend is asking me to try making butter cupcakes as they are more handy. Would the time and temperature of baking need to be adjusted then?

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    3. Hi, most certainly! Cupcakes cook faster. You can keep the same temperature, but shorten the baking time. Maybe check at the 20-min mark? Just keep a close eye the first time you make them. :) Good luck!

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    4. Hi, I made the cupcakes and I want to say, they worked! Just for anyone who wants to make cupcakes, 20 mins at about 180ºC instead. At 190ºC the batter rises too quickly and overspills.

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  29. Hi ju, can I check if 190 degrees is oven with fan or without? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Lily, I use an electric tabletop oven. I think there is no fan.

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  30. Hi Ju, i found out my cake to be too crumbling. i did change the skim milk to rice milk. do you have any idea why my cake turned out like that? thanks

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  31. Can I use cake flour? Thanks.

    Jenny

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