Almond Brandied Pound Cake

Last Halloween, my friends and I had a Clue-themed Halloween party. It was fantastic. We all dressed up as characters from the movie (yours truly was Mrs. White). We decorated a friend’s house with props from the movie – a set of keys, pumpkins with the weapons carved into them, the weapons (a lead pipe, two candlesticks, etc.) scattered about the house. Our hosts, Ms. Scarlet and Mr. Body, did a fabulous job of transforming their dining room table into a billiards table, which is where the food was served. Our menu was also inspired by the movie. I never issued a post with the menu, but here it is:

Ms. Scarlett’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
Mrs. White’s White Pizza
Soft frosted sugar cookies with the weapons piped onto them
“Monkey’s brains” (crab dip)
Red herring (bagels & lox)
Colonel Mustard’s homemade pretzels and mustard dip
Almond brandied pound cake (because they drink tons of brandy during the movie)
Mr. Green’s chips & guacamole
Professor Plum’s chocolate-covered plums

I had been eying this pound cake recipe for a while, and was thrilled for an occasion to make it. I was a huge fan. It was just barely sweet with a slightly crunchy top. It’s recipes like this one (and the almond poppy seed bread) that make me wish that I had friends over for tea, because I can’t help but think that this would be fabulous with tea or after dinner coffee. But even if you don’t entertain for tea or coffee, you should make this recipe. Make it for your coworkers for their morning coffee. Or hoard it for yourself. Either one is perfectly acceptable. 😉

Almond Brandied Pound Cake

Adapted from The Way the Cookie Crumbles, via The Novice Chef featured on Love & Olive Oil (wow, that’s a mouthful!)

Makes 1 loaf


  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 1¼ c. sugar, divided
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbs. brandy
  • 1 Tbs. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1½ c. cake flour, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9×5 inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high and continue whipping until the egg white form soft peaks. With the mixer still running, slowly add 1/2 c. of the sugar. Continue whipping until egg whites form stiff, glossy peaks. Transfer egg whites to a clean bowl and set aside.
  3. Clean stand mixer bowl and switch to the paddle attachment. Beat butter on medium speed until soft and creamy, about 1 minute. Lower speed and add salt and remaining ¾ of sugar. Increase speed again, mixing until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl.
  4. In a small bowl (or measuring cup), whisk together egg yolks, brandy, almond extract and vanilla extract. With mixer on medium-low speed, add to butter-sugar mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes, scraping down sides of mixer as necessary, until thoroughly combined.
  5. Now we’re going to add the flour and egg whites with a rubber spatula. Alternate folding in ingredients: flour – egg white – flour – egg whites – flour. Flour and egg whites should be completely mixed in.
  6. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45-60 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean. Top with be golden brown (if it browns too quickly, loosely cover with aluminum foil).
  7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Then, use a knife to loosen edges of cake from pan. Invert, removing from pan. Place back on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve at room temperature.

Serving suggestions: with tea, coffee, or a dollop of whipped cream.

Raspberry Peach Cake

I’ve been dying to make this cake again since the summer fruit started appearing in the grocery store. Not as pretty as the photos in the magazine, but this cake is a light summer treat.

Raspberry Peach Cake

Adapted from Fine Cooking No. 80 (p. 68)

Serves 8-10

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour, more for the pan
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for the pan
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2/3 c. plain yogurt

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1/2 large, ripe peach, sliced very thinly (~ 1/16 an inch)
  • 3/4 c. fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Make the Cake:

Preheat oven to 350F.

Lightly butter a 9-inch round baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper (trace pan and cut out a circle). Butter the parchment paper and the sides of the pan. Gently sprinkle with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 3 minutes. Lower speed slightly and dd eggs, orange zest, and vanilla, beating until thoroughly combined.

Remove bowl from mixer and sift in baking powder, baking soda, salt, and half of the flour. Fold into butter/egg mixture. The fold in the yogurt. Sift in the remaining flour and fold into wet mixture. Pour into prepared baking pan, and bake for 15 minutes.

While baking, make the topping: Using a fork, combine all ingredients in a small bowl, so that the fruit is well coated.

After 15 minutes of baking… pull out the cake (still on the oven rack) and quickly add topping to cake. It will still be very wet and look soft, but should hold the fruit.

Continue to bake for another 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow cake to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife along edges of pan to loosen it, and then invert onto a plate. Peal away the parchment and flip cake right-side-up to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

I have to thank my good friend S. for picking out this recipe. We were bumming around the house while our husbands were playing video games, and she decided that I was bringing dessert to her house over the weekend. I’m always happy for an excuse to try out a new recipe, and was thrilled when she picked one from How to Be A Domestic Goddess, a cookbook that has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. I’ve flipped through it, but this was the first time I’ve ever made anything from it. After this recipe, I’ll definitely be going back to this book for more recipes.

This Chocolate Mousse Cake was super rich and fudgy. You can also skip the baking and just refrigerate the batter (chocolate mousse) in a bowl instead of baking it in a spring-form pan (and after licking the spatula, you may just want to do that!)

Chocolate Mousse Cake

Adapted from Nigella Lawson’s How to Be A Domestic Goddess (p. 176)


  • 11 oz. good-quality bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 oz. good-quality milk chocolate
  • 3/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs, separated
  • scant 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Prep: Preheat oven to 350F and put a pot or kettle on to boil (if making cake).

Line the inside of a 9-inch spring-form pan with aluminum foil, being sure to smooth out wrinkles. (The cake is baked in a water bath, and this will prevent the water from getting inside the cake. I lined the outside of the pan with foil instead, simply because I didn’t want to deal with pealing away the foil from the cake. There was a little water in the bottom, but none seemed to get into the cake.)

Make the Mousse: Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring until smooth. Allow to cool slightly.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat egg yolks and butters on medium-high speed until creamy – when the paddle is lifted, the batter should fall in ribbons, about 5 minutes. Add in salt and vanilla. When combined, add in cooled chocolate. Scrape down sides and make sure chocolate is thoroughly incorporated (I found some left on the bottom of the bowl). Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Clean the bowl, and with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on high-speed until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add in dollops to the chocolate mixture, folding in to lighten.

Mousse or Cake?

If making chocolate mousse, transfer mixture to a bowl and refrigerate.

If making cake, pour into the prepared spring-form pan. Place pan in a baking dish and add water – water should come about 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Bake 50-60 minutes, until top is dry and cooked, and inside is damp and mousse-like. (For me, at 50 minutes, the whole cake was a fudge-like consistency, so I recommend baking for 40 minutes and then re-evaluating from there). Remove from water bath and let cool completely on a drying rack. When cooled, release the pan and peel away foil.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with whipped cream, raspberry sauce, or fresh fruit.

Red Velvet Snowball Cake: Fail!

Operation Red Velvet Snowball Cake: Fail

I don’t normally post recipes for things that did not turn out well, but my mom and I really liked the idea behind the Red Velvet Snowball Cake and thought someone might use it for inspiration.

The original idea and recipe for this cake came from Redbook Magazine. The cake was supposed to be 4 layers of red velvet cake, with a cream cheese frosting, and coconut sprinkled on top and on the sides. Never having made red velvet anything before, we began by making Redbook’s cake, but the result was a very dense and flavorless cake.

Convinced it must have been a flawed recipe, we set out to try the cake again, this time using Paula Deen’s Red Velvet Cake recipe. However, Paula’s cake was also quite dense. Again, we weren’t sure where we went wrong.

Interestingly enough, Paula also has a similar Red Velvet Cupcake recipe, that my parents had both tasted before and loved. It was light and airy, what a cake is supposed to be. Her two recipes had some pretty significant differences, including the use of cake flour v. all-purpose flour and the use of butter v. oil. Perhaps these really made the difference in a light and fluffy cake?

Anyway, Operation Red Velvet Snowball Cake was deemed a failure. If someone has a tried-and-true red velvet recipe, please leave me a comment… I’d love to have another recipe in case I embark on this mission again next Christmas.