Sunday, November 29, 2009

SMS: Golden Almond Fruitcake


This week’s Sweet Melissa Sundays treat is Golden Almond Fruitcake. Melissa Murphy’s love of almonds seems pretty apparent. Throughout the book they are sprinkled in recipes, such as chocolate chip cookies and sticky buns, where you would typically find other kinds of nuts like walnuts or pecans, but this is a whole cake celebrating the nut with almond in four different forms: marzipan, whole almonds, almond flour, and almond extract. Melissa introduction to the recipe includes the anecdote that this recipe won the 2006 Marzipandemonium contest sponsored by the Almond Board of California. I’d like to know where to find out how to become a judge for that contest – sounds yummy!



Oh, fruitcake. It really has the reputation of being a totally inedible sweet, dense brick. I think what deters me from it are the little chunks of candied “fruit.” Luckily, this recipe uses regular dried fruit, which proved to be a great way to clear out some pantry reserves (I constantly have leftovers from various baking projects); I used apples, cherries, and apricots. The recipe gives a choice between using brandy or juice for the cake and glaze, and I used brandy, which made for a pretty boozy cake (this was two SMS Sundays in a row that had me opening a bottle of alcohol before 9:00 am). It was one of those recipes that was pretty simple, but between chopping the marzipan, fruit, and nuts and making almond flour, it took me a little more time than I thought it would. I have also been making mini loaves as opposed to whole loaves a lot lately, and forgot that large cakes always bake the full amount of time specified, if not longer. The result? It was a nice moist loaf cake, with tantalizing goodies in every bite. My one complaint was that the small amount of cardamom (1/2 teaspoon) masked some of the lovely almond flavor; I would definitely skip that ingredient if I were to make this cake again.



This recipe received a 7.5 for Deliciousness and a 3 for Effort, giving it an EDR 2.5. Many thanks to Karin of Sugar and Spice for selecting this holiday treat. You can find the recipe here on Karin’s site, along with her very special reasons for choosing this recipe -such a sweet and thoughtful story. To see what the other bakers thought, drop by the SMS blogroll.

7 comments:

Tracey said...

I think you're one of the few people who was able to bake along this week Margot so kudos to you! Your fruitcake looks really great :) I had never really thought about the use of almonds if the Sweet Melissa book, but you're right, they're everywhere!

jillbert said...

This looks and sounds really delicious! Fruitcake has such a bad reputation, but there are plenty of good ones out there. What's bad about almonds, dried fruit, and brandy?!

Leslie said...

I love a fruitcake that uses dried fruit rather than the freakishly colored "candied" junk. This sounds delicious, though I'd skip the brandy.

Megan said...

I love almond paste - well, I love almonds in just about every form. Especially when they're soaked in brandy. :)

Sarah said...

I wanted to make this one, I just couldn't swing it this weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up... Your fruitcake looks wonderful. While I feel like Melissa is a little too almond crazy - are there any other nuts in the book? - this sounds like a wonderful vehicle for them. I looooove marzipan, so I was really intrigued with this recipe. Beautiful job.

Karin said...

Thanks for baking along with me this week! I always had a hard time getting around the candied cherries in my gram's fruitcake, and loved the addition of the "real" dried fruit in this recipe. And I'm happy to report that even though its very different from what he was used to, my dad loved it!

Shandy said...

I am just learning to use cardamon more in recipes and agree with you; the almond flavor was not as strong as I thought the taste would be. I Love your almond cake/bread and I hope you find you had a wonderful Thanksgiving =)