Brandy and Almond Cake
The best thing about having a husband who is into liquor (he is particularly into Scotch), is the frequent sipping sessions we have together while lazing on the couch and just talking about everything and anything about the world. He has managed to collect quite a number of bottles of Scotch each time we travel internationally and making a stop at the duty free shops has almost become a ritual for us.
The next best thing, of course, about having a husband who is into liquor is that I get the liberty to play around with some of them for baking. No, I don't use our Glenlivet or Johnnie Walker Blue and Gold labels for my cakes. Instead, I opt for the inexpensive everyday options that still exude its fragrance in a baked cake. It's just like how you don't need an expensive bottle of wine for cooking but instead, a few splashes of your everyday table wine does the trick wonderfully.
I picked brandy for this cake but rum will go just as well. I don't think you really can go wrong playing around with the various options of liquor to flavor this cake.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons brandy
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup slivered almonds
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. On a baking sheet lined with foil, toast the almond slivers for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool. Generously butter a 9"x3" loaf pan. Continue to let oven preheat while preparing the batter.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.
3. Add the sugar and eggs into the mixing bowl and whisk until fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract, followed by the heavy cream and then the brandy.
4. Now with a rubber spatula gently stir in the dry ingredients gradually in 3 additions. The batter will be thick. Finally, gently fold in the melted butter gradually in 3 additions. The batter will now be smooth.
5. Bake for 55 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
6. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup. Heat the water in the microwave and stir in the sugar until it melts. Then stir in the brandy. Let the mixture cool.
7. When the cake is done, transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and let sit on the wire rack lined with parchment paper. Using a cake tester, poke holes all over the cake. Brush the cake generously with the syrup. Continue to let the cake cool on the rack.