Mmmm, I love love cake. This cake was for a surprise going-away party for Sheila, a friend from my dorm last year. She's going to be studying abroad in Italy for the rest of the summer...luckkkkky! Anyway, word on the street was that Sheila's favorite cakes were carrot and almond. This important piece of information came from our source, Weston, Sheila's boyfriend. Anyway, in order to find this out, Weston asked Sheila what flavor cake she would want to have at her wedding. So slick, so sneaky...hehe. No, these two aren't engaged, but yes, they are pretty much adorable. :)
So after contemplating pros and cons for shredding 3 cups of baby carrots, I decided to make an almond cake for Sheila. This cake actually looks a lot like the Strawberry Almond Cake I made a few weeks ago. However, looks can be deceiving! I used a totally different recipe...the cake is, in fact, almond cake, thanks to almond extract. Also...notice that lovely split-age going on there! My layering skills have gotten much better, and I am proud to say that these layers were pretty darn even. :) And what use are layers if there can't be some delish strawberry preserves smeared between them?
So I have to admit that this is one of my favorite pictures because I feel like the cake is sticking out its tongue. This cake's got some attitude going on here! And it has every reason to since it's reallllly really delicious! It was a hit at the party, and most importantly, Sheila loved it! Seriously, though, this cake came out super fluffy, which tasted great with the strawberry preserves and mountain of cream cheese frosting on top. Ohhhh, and the almonds. That were ever so precisely slivered by hand...individually. :) Yeeeah, I'm slightly obsessed, I know.
Sheila's Almond Cake
Adapted from "Simple White Cake"...allrecipes.com
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup butter
4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup milk
Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Cathy Love...foodnetwork.com
4 oz. butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 (12 oz.) jar strawberry preserves
about 3/4 cup almonds, slivered
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cut a piece of wax paper to fit onto the bottom of the pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Dust bottom and sides of pan with flour.
In mixer bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in almond extract. Combine flour and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in milk until batter is smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until top is browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
When cake is completely cool, slice into two 4.5x6.5-inch layers. Slice these two layers lengthwise, creating four layers total. Place one layer on a serving dish, and spread a third of the preserves over the cake. Top with second layer, and spread with half of remaining preserves. Top with third layer, and spread remaining preserves over the cake. Place fourth layer on cake-pile, and mountain-on cream cheese frosting. Top cake with slivered almonds.