Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Elusive Almondy-ness

Last week, I ate the most delicious almond pound cake I have ever had. It might have been the only almond pound cake I had ever had, but I would even venture to say that this was the best pound cake I had ever had. It all started when my good pals John and Lisa got engaged.
How friggin cute are they. Lisa asked me to be a bridesmaid, and John asked my husband Nick to be his groomsman, and of course we both accepted. Lisa has to be one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is the kind of girl who really likes you before she even meets you. This also seems to translate into her cake preferences; if it's cake, she likes it. So, she invited me to the cake tasting because I am not the nicest person anyone has ever met, and I certainly do not whole heartedly embrace all cake as delicious. In fact, I have very discriminating tastes. Fondant? I don't think so. All purpose flour in angel food? What's the matter with you!? Imitation vanilla flavoring? Not on your life!
So last week, Lisa, John and I headed over to "Classic Cakes" in Carmel, IN, and tasted some cake. And after a taste of their almond pound cake, I demanded that the couple include this flavor in the most important four-tier-cake of their lives! They happily obliged, so all ended well. But now, all I can think about is delicious almond pound cake. I quickly looked for a recipe, and found one on America's Test Kitchen. I made it and brought it to a dinner party. Our friends rather liked it.
However, I can not recommend the recipe. It's a smidge dry, but that might just have been because I didn't bake it in a loaf pan. More importantly, it's boring. The only almond aspects involved are a couple teaspoons of almond extract and some slivered almonds on top. There was no bold almondy goodness explosion in your mouth! So I'm on the lookout for a good almond pound cake recipe. I'm going to try out a few more, and let you know what works best. Almonds, here I come!


  1. I'm calling you next time I need a good cake picker.
    I have a great lemon-lime cake recipe that's always well received...but I don't think I've ever made pound cake or almond cake, let alone together

  2. No, you mustn't be terrified! You and your husband will both be fine in your exams. The one thing people kept telling me (which I refused to listen to because how can you not freak out about these exams, right?) is that I should trust the process, because it works. You prepare for the exams, you freak out, have a few panic attacks/breakdowns/cheese-covered-in-cheese binges, and then you go to the exams and realize that you do have things to say about the topics you've been asked to write about, that you know more than you thought you did, that yes, you can do what they're asking you to do. The main thing the PhD exams helped me discover was that all those fears I'd had--about how I'd get to the exams and everyone would discover I'm a total academic fraud and not worthy of a PhD--those fears were not valid, just made up in my head out of my own insecurity. If my experience (and the experience of all my friends and colleagues who have gone through the same process) is any indication, if you can steel yourself to actually take the exams (no small feat), you're likely to be successful. :)

    So...all that to say, try not to worry too much. I won't say don't worry, because there's no point. It's impossible not to worry, but try to take it easy on yourself. Finish your studying, do your reviewing, take some walks, try to avoid hysterics. My husband made me stand up every so often, walk around the room, do jumping jacks, have 2-minute dance parties, eat. It was very helpful. :) And as I said (tried to say) in my blog post, the nice part about the actual exams is that once you're there, you have a choice: you can either worry about the exams, or you can write them. There's no way you can do both. It's kind of peaceful, in a very crazy way. :) (Wow, sorry to go on and on. I have a lot of sympathy for people in the throes of exams.)

    Good luck to you and your husband! I'll be following along with you, rooting for you. :) Also, good luck with your almond pound cake recipe! :) I'm a baking addict, so it's hard for me to read about baking anything without getting the urge to run home and bust out my measuring cups.

    Shutting up now...