Sunday, May 23, 2010

Strawberry & Almond Loaf Cake

When I was growing up in Malaysia, I understood bread is bread and cake is cake. Meaning, breads are those white squares cut up from a long rectangle loaves baked from flour and yeast while cakes are either round or square with multiple flavors and sweetened with fruits and sugar. After so many years living in the States, I still find it awkward whenever someone say they want to bake a banana bread or blueberry bread as the first thing that always come to my mind is the flour and yeast type with banana and blueberry baked into them and not the American versions of sweet bread baked like a cake but in the loaf shape! So instead of naming this recipe as Strawberry & Almond Bread, I will call it a loaf cake. Just like old habits, once I am used to one term it is hard to process my mind and call it another term.

These loaves are very easy to make and I just love their simplicity with the buttery flavor, embedded with soft strawberry slices and slight crunch from the almond slices make them a delight to eat all day long on a Sunday. I made it a bit fancy with extra layers of strawberry slices on the top of the cake batter before I baked them and they raised and pushed the strawberry slices to the sides! But they turned out pretty and no icing required . The cakes need to sit and cool at room temperature for at least 20 mins as it will be too moist and soft once out of the oven and cannot cut cleanly.

Recipe :
Ingredients :
1-1/2 cup All Purpose flour
1 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) Butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar and extra 1 tsp for sprinkling
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp Grenadine syrup/vanilla essence
1/2 cup Almond milk/milk
2 cups sliced strawberries (about 8 large strawberries)
1/2 cup almond slices

Method :
1)Preheat oven to 375F. Sift the flour with the baking powder and salt. Set aside.
2)Cream the butter and sugar (reserving the extra 1 tsp) till light. Beat in one egg at a time till blended. Add in the grenadine syrup or vanilla essence.
3)Spoon in half of the flour mixture and fold into the butter and sugar mixture. Pour in half of the almond milk or milk and stir to combine. Continue with the remaining half of the flour and fold in. Lastly stir in the remaining milk.
4)Take 1/3 of the strawberry slices and half of the almond slices and drop into the cake mixture. Stir to combine. Grease 1 large loaf pan and spoon in the batter. Use a spatula or spoon to spread out the batter evenly. Arrange the strawberry slices on the top and sprinkle with the remaining almond slices. Sprinkle the remaining sugar on top.
5)Bake for 35 to 40 mins and test for doneness. Turn off oven and let it stay in the warm oven for another 10 mins before removing and cooling completely before cutting.

Serves: 6 person

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