I’ve been taking Wilton classes for the last eight weeks – I finished Wilton 1 in June and just finished Wilton 2 recently. It’s been a blast and I wish I could continue to Wilton 3, but my schedule has just gotten impossible to juggle. I definitely plan to take Wilton 3 in the future, but for now any cake decorating will be done with the many techniques I learned from my fabulous instructor (who reads this blog – hi, Gabriella!) in Wilton 1 and 2. I couldn’t have even learned those techniques, though, if it weren’t for a gaggle of people who promised to eat my cakes every week, because I’m certainly not up to all those sweets. So thanks to my hubs and our pals Gorka, Stephen, Susanna, Eliina, Sindy, Kevin and Tequila and their wonderful spouses and significant others for their endless sugar tolerance and iron stomachs! (Wow, it’s turning into shout-out central around here.) I let them vote for the cake they wanted to eat as my final Wilton 1 cake, and they voted for chocolate – out-voting me and one other lone member of the group. So, I promised my fellow non-chocolate-lover a cherry almond cake next. Well, fate ordained that we spent all of Wilton 2 making sugar flowers – mmmmm, sugar flowers! – and this was the first opportunity I had to make another cake, and then I switched grocery stores, couldn’t find the dried cherries, and had to make do with cranberries. The long anticipated cherry cranberry almond cake was well-received all the same!
Cranberry (or Cherry) Almond Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare two eight-inch round or oval cake pans (either grease and flour, or spray with Pam for Baking).
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Transfer 1 1/2 tablespoons of the flour mixture to a separate bowl, add the cranberries, and toss to coat.
- In another separate bowl, combine the milk with the almond and vanilla extracts and set aside.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat together the butter (which should be softened) until creamy. Add the sugar and beat together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes, stopping to scrape down the mixer bowl as necessary. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk mixture, and mix only until all ingredients are just combined. Gently fold in the cranberries.
- Pour half the batter into each of the prepared cake pans. Bake about 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Fill the cake with your choice of filling (I used almond cream) and decorate as you desire.
Source: Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.
Cake Design: Wilton II Grand Finale Cake
Sorry I didn’t get a picture of the inside of the cake! Take my word for it; it looks like cake.