Chocolate Almond Cake with Sugared Cranberries

 

I like to stretch out the holiday season as long as possible, so when my dad needed a dessert to take to a January holiday party, I immediately knew what I had to make! I’d been carrying around this Chocolate Almond Cake recipe that I tore out of the Food Network Magazine in December 2015, but hadn’t had an opportunity to make it yet.

img_9244With sugared cranberries that look like they could just as easily decorate your Christmas floral arrangements as they can garnish this cake, it is the quintessential holiday recipe. Even better, the cardamom and almond flavors infused throughout this cake elevate it to a sophisticated level.

Without further ado, please enjoy this slightly belated dose of holiday sparkle and cheer!

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Chocolate Almond Cake with Sugared Cranberries

Ingredients:

Sugared Cranberries:

  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 c. cranberries, thawed if frozen
  • 1/2 t. ground cardamom

Cake:

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. almond flour
  • 1 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/2 t. ground allspice
  • 1/2 t. ground cardamom
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. buttermilk
  • 1/2 c. vegetable oil
  • 2 t. pure vanilla extract

Frosting:

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 T. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t. pure almond extract
  • 2 T. milk
  • 2 T. almond liqueur (or more milk, if you prefer)

Instructions:

  1. Make the sugared cranberries. Bring 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 3/4 cup water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Put the cranberries in a large bowl and pour the sugar syrup over them; let sit for 1 hour. Whisk the remaining 3/4 cup granulated sugar with the cardamom in a large bowl. Drain the cranberries, add to the spiced sugar and toss to coat. Spread the cranberries and sugar on a rimmed baking sheet. Let sit, re-rolling the cranberries in the sugar occasionally until dry, 2 to 3 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with cooking spray and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Coat the parchment with cooking spray. Whisk the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, allspice, and cardamom in a large bowl; set aside. Put the cocoa powder in a separate large bowl. Heat 1 cup water in a small saucepan until almost simmering; pour over the coca powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside until slightly cooled. about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the eggs to the cocoa mixture and beat with a mixer on medium-high speed until just combined. Add the granulated sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla; beat until combined. Reduce the mixer speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture. then increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans; lightly tap on the counter to remove any air bubbles. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean, 30-35 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool 10 minutes in the pans, then invert the cakes onto the rack to cool completely. Remove the parchment. (The cake layers can be made 1 day ahead; let cool, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap.)
  4. Make the frosting. Beat the butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a large bowl with a mixer on medium speed until just combined. Add the vanilla and almond extracts; increase the mixer speed to high and beat, scraping down the side of the bowl, until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk and almond liqueur, beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 more minutes.
  5. Halve 1/2 cup of the sugared cranberries. Place one cake layer on a plate or cake stand. Spread with 1 cup frosting, then sprinkle with the halved cranberries. Top with the second cake layer. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Top with the remaining sugared cranberries.

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