Heavenly Brandied Apricot and Almond Pound Cake

apricot-almond_cake.jpgUsually, pound cake is a Spring thing for me. I make it each year around Easter and maybe again a little later when fresh, locally-grown strawberries are ready to pick. The sweet berries with their bright juice are a perfect companion for pound cake. But in the midst of my almond paste frenzy, my apricot brandy pound cake seemed like a logical place to try to add almond paste. So, I did. And I was right. Brandied Apricot-Almond Pound Cake is the result of a match made in heaven.

Remember the brandied apricot topping on those almond bars I posted last week? Well, here it is again, swirled like birthday ribbons through apricot brandy-spiked pound cake laced with almond paste. I made some adjustments to my original pound cake recipe. The resulting texture is not exactly that of my original pound cake, but it comes pretty close.

It's best to make the cake a day or two before serving. Seal it up tight and store it in a cool place. The flavors develop with such depth and the fragrance that wafts up through your nostrils when you open the cake is intoxicating.

On serving day, make the glaze and spoon it over the cake. It not only looks lovely, it tastes divine.

I actually divided the cake batter between 6 mini-heart-shaped cakes in a Wilton cake pan that I have. The remaining batter was baked in a small Bundt pan with an 8 or 9-cup capacity.

Did you notice the little apricot hearts? I used a rolling pin to make dried apricots a little thinner and used a tiny heart-shaped cookie cutter to create the sweet little edible decorations.


Brandied Apricot Ribbon:

8 ounces dried apricots
1/2 cup apricot brandy

Pound Cake Batter:

1 cup butter
1 (8-ounce) can almond paste
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup apricot brandy
1 teaspoon orange liqueur
1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Apricot Brandy Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup apricot brandy
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 12-cup tube or Bundt pan. Set aside.

Place apricots and 1/2 cup brandy in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the brandy to a boil. Cover saucepan. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Measure apricot brandy, orange liqueur, rum flavoring, almond extract and vanilla into a small bowl. Into another bowl, sift flour with baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and almond paste together until smooth. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and creamy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time. As one egg becomes incorporated into the batter, add the next egg. Add sour cream and blend. Add dry ingredients and liquid ingredients alternately in small amounts, beginning with the dry ingredients and ending with dry ingredients.

Puree cooled apricots and brandy in food processor until smooth.

In another mixing bowl, combine the apricot puree with 1 3/4 cups of the cake batter. Blend well.

Spoon apricot batter over the almond paste cake batter. Use a rubber spatula to fold the apricot mixture into the batter, just enough to marble. Do not over-mix.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for an hour. Check cake with a wooden pick. If there is batter on the pick when you remove it from the cake, bake for another five mintues. Continue this process until cake tests done. Do not overbake the cake.

Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, sift 2 cups of powderd sugar into a mixing bowl. Whisk in brandy and 1 tablespoon milk until smooth. Add remaining tablespoon of milk or cream to make a thick glaze. Spoon glaze over the top of the cooled cake, letting it drip down the sides. Cake may be stored, covered, at room temperature for a few days or frozen for up to 1 month.

Makes 12 to 14 servings.


Sue Doeden is a popular cooking instructor, food writer and integrative nutrition health coach. She is the host of Good Food, Good Life 365 on Lakeland Public Television. Her own hives full of hardworking bees and her love of honey led to the creation of her recently published cookbook, Homemade with Honey.