almond cake with summer berries

I started off the summer testing a couple cake recipes, searching for “the one” — a simple, plain cake that tastes great all by itself, one that would also make a perfect companion to the various fruits that come and go all year long: citrus-rhubarb-berries-peaches-plums-cherries-apples-pears.

This cake was it. It’s the one to keep on your recipe list of basic essentials — just like a black t-shirt, it goes with everything.

Almonds pair well with many fruits, especially all the ones (like peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and even apples) they’re actually related to botanically. And fun fact: Stone fruit pits are the source of “bitter almond” flavor. They contain oils that are used to produce almond extract and flavorings, each kernel harboring a small amount of prussic acid a/k/a potassium cyanide. (Don’t worry, we’re talking trace amounts that are destroyed when heated during the manufacturing process).

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italian summer country cake

I’m eating a piece of cake, remembering when my kids had birthday parties…the clearing of the table right after the cake, just before the presents, and all those paper plates with beheaded cupcakes on them.

Little cakes in paper liners with their fancy frosted tops chewed right off. I know some grown-up children who still consider cake a mere delivery vehicle for cream, fudge or frosting, but for me it’s always been the opposite.  As a girl, I’d scrape off the frosting and go all in for cake.  [Read more…]