One of the ways I try incorporating fun into our family life is to celebrate the smaller holidays. The “big” holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas and birthdays require, frankly, a lot of work and energy. Not only does the food play a huge role, but there is often decorating, shopping and wrapping involved. The lesser-known holidays provide a theme and a reason to simply get together and enjoy one another’s company. Oh, and maybe enjoy a tasty treat, too. So, February brings a “big” holiday, Valentine’s Day, but it also brings with it a less-celebrated holiday, Presidents Day.
Celebrate Presidents Day by inviting friends and family over for dessert. Almond Cake with Sour Cherry Sauce is the perfect dessert to serve – remember the story about George Washington cutting down the cherry tree? I’m not sure there is any truth to the story, but it does provide a convenient reason to make a cherry dessert!
A quick trip to the store to pick up a couple of special ingredients (almond paste, sliced almonds and canned tart red cherries) and you’re ready to bake. Almond paste comes in a variety of ways – canned, chub, tube, etc. It’s made up of ground almonds and sugar, and provides a wonderful, yummy flavor to this cake. Look for it in the baking aisle at your grocery store. The recipe - calls for a 9-inch springform pan. If you don’t have one, line a 9-inch round cake pan with non-stick aluminum foil. You should be able to lift the finished cake out of the pan and easily remove the foil.
To make the cake, heat your oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch springform pan and set it aside. Combine the butter, almond paste and 1/2 cup sugar in a large bowl.
Using your mixer, beat until the almond paste is fully blended and the mixture is creamy.
Add the eggs and almond extract. Continue beating until well mixed. Add all the remaining cake ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and sliced almonds) and beat at low speed until well mixed.
Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake 45-50 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes on a cooling rack then loosen the sides of the cake by running a knife around the inside edge of the pan.
Remove the sides of the pan and cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the tart cherry sauce. Open the cans of cherries and drain the juice from the cherries right into a 3-quart saucepan; set the cherries aside. Stir 1/2 cup sugar and the cornstarch into the cherry juice until well mixed.
Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking, stirring constantly with a wire whisk, 1-2 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Stir in the cherries.
Serve the warm cherry sauce over pieces of cake.
Whether or not George actually chopped down a cherry tree, I’m sure glad the story says he did. That way we can enjoy this scrumptious Almond Cake with Sour Cherry Sauce while celebrating Presidents Day!
Have fun creating new traditions with your family. Come back and let me know what you think of the recipe.