When I was asked to bring a dessert to the blogger get-together party last weekend at Almost Heaven South, there was a time in my life when I would have panicked. Someone once said that the thing most people remember about a meal is the dessert. Desserts have always presented a problem for me because I don’t have a sweet tooth and consequently, I’m not much of a baker. To make up for that, I usually served a fruit & cheese course at dinner parties as the French often do, followed by a demitasse cup of espresso.
Then I fell in love with the idea of healthy fruit desserts and relied on versatile recipes such as this one from Jacques Pepin – Mangos with Dark Rum and Lime Zest. It’s so easy that it could be in a “dessert for dummies” book. Best of all, it looks like sunshine on a plate.
Several years ago good friends visited us in the mountains for a week and one night she asked if she could make dessert. I couldn’t say “yes” fast enough and, before she knew it, we were in the car and off to town to gather the ingredients. This is rich dessert in taste as well as the costly ingredients – Limoncello, an Italian lemon liquor made with vodka, olive oil, and almond paste.
If you want to make your own Limoncello, Giada has an easy recipe on The Food Network website. Mary of One Perfect Bite couldn’t find almond paste at the store the other day and posted a great homemade version, so you can be very resourceful with this recipe.
Now I don’t panic anymore when asked to bring a dessert with a decadent one like Almond Limoncello cake under my belt. I advise making this dessert a day in advance. The cake needs to cool completely before being removed from the springform pan and that takes several hours. Also, if it sits overnight, the Limoncello really sinks in and gives it a richer, more lemony flavor.
Almond Limoncello Cake
Adapted from Barbara Fairchild, Editor of Bon Appétit
¾ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup sugar
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
5 tablespoons unsalted room temperature butter
1 ½ - 7 ounce tubes (10 ½ ounces total) almond paste, crumbled
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon peel, (2 -3 lemons)
3 large eggs, brought to room temperature
1/3 cup Limoncello (Italian lemon liquor made with vodka)
Handful of carefully browned sliced almonds for garnish (optional but pretty)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk flour, baking powder & salt together and set aside.
In a stand mixer, add ¾ cup sugar, 1/3 cup oil and 5 tablespoons room temperature butter & beat until light & fluffy. Add crumbled almond paste and grated lemon peel. Beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, incorporating well. Add flour mixture and blend.
Butter and flour a 9” springform pan. Transfer the batter to the pan. Place the springform pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool cake completely, then remove from springform pan and carefully remove the cake from the bottom of the pan.
Brush top of cake with Limoncello or poke tiny holes in the cake and drizzle with the Limoncello. Can be prepared one day in advance at this point. Cover and store at room temperature. Right before serving, sprinkle with a little more Limoncello and powdered sugar. If desired, garnish with sliced almonds. Serves 8 to 12.
You will have half of a tube of almond paste leftover. It can be kept, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for a month or frozen for three months.
The blogger BBQ party where I took this cake last weekend was hosted by Pitt Masters Larry of Big Dude’s Ramblings and Chris of Nibble Me This on the shores of beautiful Lake Tellico in eastern Tennessee. Larry and Bev sure knew what they were doing when they named their house “Almost Heaven South.” You’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven relaxing on their comfortable dock while stuffing yourself with authentic Texas BBQ served Lockhart, Texas style on butcher paper. Here’s an example of some of the different varieties of BBQ.
|BBQ Lockhart Texas style on butcher paper|
Check out Larry’s post for more mouthwatering pictures of the real Texas BBQ they served and his second post about the party. You’ll see why we ate so much we may not need to eat again for a week. After the spread they put on, everybody groaned at the thought of dessert.