Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves
THE FARMHOUSE Our oldest kiddo, Wilder, turned 4 this week, which has me feeling all the feelings. On the one hand, I can barely remember a life without our wild child in it, but on the other hand, wasn't he just born like last year? Ugh, these years are short. One thing that's for sure though, I really love the person that Wilder has grown into. He's gregarious, active, considerate, and always, always loves to have a good time. So naturally, we had to celebrate!
Birthdays are a special occasion around our house and they always include a homemade cake. I spend weeks planning out the perfect pairing of cake and frosting and spend way too long decorating the concoction. It's a tradition that started when Wilder was born (he was born at home so I asked my sis to whip up the Poshusta family apple cake recipe in our oven on the day he was born) and has continued for every birthday for everyone in the family. I'm a bit of a baking addict so channeling the sugar highs into one decadent, celebratory cake (for every holiday, of course) has not only been fun for me but also better for our health than the weekly cookies and cupcakes I used to make.
This year, Wilder requested a chocolate, rainbow dinosaur cake, which had me really scratching my head. Thankfully, at the last minute, he changed his mind. I pitched two cakes: a simple chocolate cake (I used the recipe on the back of the Hershey's coco box) with vanilla buttercream and an almond rhubarb cake stacked with whipped cream. He was happy with those. Originally I planned to make mini cakes for everyone, but with the birthday party guest list at 40, I decided to make one mini cake for Wilder to blow out his candle, and larger cakes to serve to the masses. Today, I wanted to share our almond cake recipe with you guys.
This almond cake is sooo good. It's dense and nutty, but still sweet and moist. My mom, who has had her share of birthday cakes in her day (my whole family is a little obsessed with baking), told me it was the best she'd ever had. And guys, I might just have to agree. The cake recipe originally came from the Macrina's cookbook, which I've been baking out of since my sister-in-law gave us their cookbook 10 years ago, and has evolved into a recipe all it's own. The rhubarb, strawberry jam was inspired by Molly Yeh's recipe.
Almond Cake with Rhubarb Strawberry Preserves
*this recipe makes one 9" layer cake or 4 3-layer (or 6 2-layer) mini cakes
for the cake
3 large eggs
¾ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 ounces butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground sea salt
1 ½ cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
Grease two 9” round cake pans with butter and line bottom with parchment paper. Combine eggs, yogurt, almond extract, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk by hand until combined. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter on high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the dry ingredients into butter and mix slowly until combined. Increase mixer speed to medium and mix for an additional minute. Scrape bowl down, add half of the egg mixture, and mix until combined. Scrape down bowl and repeat with the remaining egg mixture. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake in 325-degree oven. Start checking for doneness at 25 minutes (toothpick should come out clean). Let cool on a wire rack.
for the rhubarb jam
2 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
1/2 cup strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
juice of 1 small lemon
In a medium saucepan, combine the fruit, vanilla, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture gets thick, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add in lemon, and let cool. Jam should be stored in the fridge.
for the whipped cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp powder sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
In a small bowl, beat cream, sugar, and vanilla with a hand-held mixer until stiff peaks form (or use your stand mixer). If you don't use right away, store in fridge.
9" layer cake: After cakes cool, remove one layer from pan and place on a cardboard circle atop a cake stand or plate. Cut the top of the cake flat with a large knife (and share the top with your kiddos to make their day!). Spread a generous layer of rhubarb strawberry jam on top of cake and then spread 1/2 of the whipped cream over that. Place second layer on top of cake and spread the remaining whipped cream on top. Decorate with slivered almonds and sliced strawberries.
Mini cakes: Place cake rounds on a cutting board. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out rounds from each layer. Follow assembly instructions above. You can stack cakes 2 or 3 layers high, but 2 layers are more stable, especially if serving to kids.
Do yourself a favor and make this cake for whatever event you have coming up (or can dream up). Just be sure to let me know how you like it!