Almond Cake

I owe David Lebovitz a debt of gratitude. While searching for an almond cake recipe, not calling for almond flour, I came across his recipe. He readily admits this comes from Chez Panisse. My pantry held marzipan rather than almond paste, so I changed the recipe ever so slightly. This cake looks light and airy and it is. But it is also incredibly moist and almondy. Have a slice on its own or pair it with brandied cherries, peach ice cream or toffee. This cake would be a gorgeous addition to your Thanksgiving dessert display.

Almond Cake
v.slightly adapted from david lebovitz
1 cup + 2 Tbs granulated sugar
7 oz marzipan paste (i used odense)
1 cup all purpose flour–divided
1 cup unsalted butter–room temperature
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
6 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325^F. Butter and flour a 9″ springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a round of parchment paper. Using a food processor with the metal blade, process the marzipan, sugar and 1/4 cup flour until it resembles fine sand. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining flour, salt and baking powder. To the almond mixture, add the butter, vanilla extract and almond extract and pulse until a smooth batter forms. Add the eggs one by one, and scraping the bowl as necessary in between additions. Add half of the flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Add the remaining flour and pulse a few times. If need be, hand stir the flour until it is fully incorporated. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about an hour. Begin checking after 50 minutes. You can use the toothpick test to check for doneness, or whichever method you prefer. Once removed from oven and while the cake is still hot, run a sharp knife around the perimeter to loosen the cake. Do not open the springform pan until the cake is completely cooled. Allow the cake to cool in the pan. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar

Halloween Costumes 2011

Yes I know. Halloween is in the past and we have moved rapidly on to the next big holiday. Never-the-less, I want to share something. I am not a seamstress; although there was that one quarter of sewing in jr. high school where we made pillows and wrap skirts. Really, I don’t even know how to sew legitimately, but I do it anyway. I act unafraid and I improvise. I’m sharing with you, so you understand it is possible with little or no training, combined with a bit of creative thinking, anyone can make these costumes.

For the Child Catcher Coat
I used simplicity pattern 5386–closed the back and didn’t add the collar or cuffs. I cut the sleeve pattern as prescribed, then pinned parchment paper to it, and fashioned it around my arm to the desired shape…and cut the parchment to match. Opened it up..and had a new sleeve pattern. All of the colors and patterns, are added on top of the the original coat giving it heft. I made this in one afternoon. The glove is a black glove with a piece of oasis duck-taped on it. the lollipops are simply stuck and hot glued.
For the Planet of The Apes Costume
I used butterick pattern b4574–instead of an open collar for the shirt. I kept it closed and added a rolled collar, and hemmed the shirt cuff rather than adding elastic. From the same pattern, I was able to make the vest–eliminating the cap sleeves and shortening it to hit at the hip. The vest is made of pleather. I was able to make the ridges by taking strips of the pleather hot-gluing 1/4″ cording down the center, then sewing the strips onto the vest. The ammo belt is also pleather, with a covering of fishnet.

I know this all seems rather simplified…but it is to make a point. It ,em>is rather simple. Sewing is all about the preparation. Much like carpentry, measure twice and cut once. Prepare your materials, pay attention to the directions and don’t sweat it. I doubt anyone will criticize your costume while you are handing them candy.
I hope you had a great Halloween and aren’t freaked by the notion that Christmas is only 52 days away.