by the time that she's old enough to date i think i'll be so far removed from junior high drama that any advice that i may be able to offer my little sister would be completely unqualified and terrible. same for anything pertaining to fashion and applying eye shadow. but as her trusty middle older sister, i can definitely educate her on the value of sprinkle tweezers and the proper fluffiness of a cake batter. and if her enthusiasm now for baking (and—get this, cleaning up) is any indication of her future, i think that sprinkle tweezers will take her much further than eyebrow tweezers.
all of her birthday and holiday presents for the past few years have been baking centric: cake in a crate boxes, decorating classes with alekka (including one all about buttercream roses!!) and this year i was gonna go for the big piping set but apparently stoopie beat me to it. last week she did baking camp!
when i was her age i was into my tamagotchi flock and doing math, i thought i wanted to be a math teacher when i grew up. now i practically have to use a calculator to compute how many bagels a double batch of 12 will yield. so i realize that the chances are not unlikely that mia will probably get serious about a million other things before she grows up but i do selfishly have this fantasy that she’ll turn into an ivenoven or bk floral delight so the tables can turn and i can go visit her for buttercream flower advice.
speaking of that, i don’t know what i’m doing on my computer right now, i should really be doing some crumb coats for the eggsister wedding. two days until show time!!!! i just really really wanted to show you these pictures and this cake before the big day! mia came for a visit a couple of weeks ago and, like the rest of our family, has a strong pull toward almond things (yass!!) so we made this almond cake that’s based on the pistachio cake from molly on the range. to keep with eggsister’s floral theme we added a tiny splash of orange blossom water that isn’t easy to detect on its own but it adds a complexity that’s just slightly bitter and fancy. mia chose all of the buttercream colors out of my new fun nifty fifty set. at first i was horrified at the mix of neon and pastel colors that she chose but i love how they turned out! and i enjoyed playing with colors that i otherwise wouldn’t have used. chantell and brett came to take some photos and mia brought out all of her sia-inspired hair bows to choose from. don't be fooled by our very serious concentration faces, it was the best day!!!!
a couple of notes on this cake: it is so dense and packed full of nuts that it functions best as a one-layer cake (its original form is a loaf, so feel free to go that route if you'd like). it will look super ugly and like a meteor has crashed on top when it comes out of the oven but flip it over and it will be nice and smooth and have a slight dip in the center, which is best for holding a pool of glaze. i’ve included some brief buttercream rose directions below, one of which is to watch a million instagram and youtube videos, and at my current skill level that’s the best advice i can offer. i know i said i was going to try german buttercream this time but we ate all the eggs. oops.
orange blossom almond cake
makes one 9" cake
2 c (224g) almond flour
1/2 c (56g) all-purpose flour or gluten free all-purpose flour with 1/4 tsp xantham gum
1 tsp kosher salt
1 c (225g) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 c (300g) sugar
4 large eggs
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 tsp orange blossom water
Powdered sugar glaze (a couple cups powdered sugar mixed with milk, cream, or water until creamy and spreadable)
Preheat oven to 350ºf. Grease and line the bottom of a 9” round cake pan and set it aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, all-purpose flour, and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for a few minutes until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each, and then add the lemon zest, almond extract, and orange blossom water. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Scrape into pan and bake until browned on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the edges are just slightly pulling in from the pan. begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To decorate, pour the glaze over the top of the cake. Watch a million instagram and youtube videos for how to pipe buttercream roses. Pipe them onto little parchment squares and place them on a sheet pan. Freeze the sheet pan for about 15 minutes or until the frosting is firm, and then peel them off the parchment and stick them on the cake. Fill in any spaces with buttercream leaves and sprinkles, if desired.