Bonjour mes amis! That's right. You guessed it. I am in Paris. Now I don't mean to brag, but it really is such a wonderful place. Usually I am a big shopper, but clothes haven't really been enticing me since I've been here. I am much happier to pick up knickknacks and trinkets, running my fingers along the spines of beautiful, old books in musty bookshops and inspecting pocket watches and vintage monocles at flea markets.
What? You thought I'd be drooling at chocolate counters and munching on crusty baguettes? Do you know me at all? Of course I am doing that as well. In fact, my mom and I decided that our whole mission in Paris is to find the tastiest chocolate shops, the best palmiers, and the most delicious bread. It is a culinary adventure, of sorts. While I am thrilled that I have such a yummy city to explore, I do miss my kitchen dearly.
I miss the smells wafting through my house at all hours. I miss crumbs on my floor. I miss little dribbles of batter (maybe, just maybe spilled while licking the bowl) on the same part of my favorite sweatshirt. I miss sneaking pinches of dough from the fridge. I miss pulling beautiful, glossy tarts from the oven. I miss it all. It's official. I love the process just as much as the end result. I need to get back to my oven, any oven really.
In order to help me cope, and entertain you a bit, I wanted to share something I made just before I left. Citrus almond pound cake. Doesn't that sound wonderful? I'm not sure exactly why, but I adore pound cakes. Particularly those that incorporate almond paste. I think it's the texture, the density, of pound cakes that attracts me. They are never too sweet, so I feel almost virtuous eating them. Ok, not so much, but they are so perfect that I simply can't help but eat at least one slice when faced with pound cake.
Are you ready for a bold statement? This is the best pound cake I've ever eaten. Mark Bittman really knows what he's doing. The lemon is a sunny, tart counterpoint to the rich, caramel-ly taste of the almonds, and the texture is everything you'd want in a pound cake. I love it, I love it, I love it. Now why wasn't I smart enough to pack a few pieces? I've been snapping pictures while out and about, so I'm planning to post about some of the delicious places I've eaten very soon. I miss you all!
Citrus Almond Pound Cake
Makes 1 Bundt cake or 2 loaves
Adapted from Mark Bittman's Minimalist Column
12 tablespoons of butter, cubed, at room temperature, plus extra for pan
Flour for pan
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups cake flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
7-ounce tube almond paste
7 large eggs
4 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-cup Bundt pan with extra butter and dust with flour. Heat lemon juice and 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan on low and cook until the sugar dissolves. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Beat almond paste and remaining 2 cups sugar in a stand mixer until smooth. Add the butter and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the zest and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Spread batter into prepared baking pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly. Poke holes in the bottom of the cake and pour the syrup over top, letting it rest for 30 minutes in order to let the juices soak in. Remove from pan and serve at room temperature.