Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Butter Almond Cake

I haven't been cooking lately as I have been teaching in Amsterdam and there's no kitchen in my hotel room - unfortunately. But I have to say that there's no shortage of good restaurants and I've already been to the grocery store to pick up some food to bring home. I bought some curry ketchup and some of my favorite Dutch waffle cookies - Stroopwafels. I was given another Dutch cookie to try by my organizer - Boterkoek. The exact translation is Butter Cake, but these were little cookie squares of dense, sweet, buttery goodness. They were really very sweet, but I was craving sugar as it seems to help my jetlag. Needless to say, they are not going to make it home as I ate them all while drinking lots of tea. She was kind enough to supply me with the recipe from her mother. It was remarkably similar to an Almond Butter Cake that I make in a round cake pan and cut into wedges. It surprised me how different they taste and it appears that it is simply a matter of changing the extract that you use. That helped me adapt the recipe to American measuring standards and oven temperature. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did. They are going to become a standard in my cookie list!


1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 stick butter - 3/4 cup melted
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
Optional - 1 teaspoon sugar for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9 inch square pan or for thinner and less moist cookies use a 9 x 11 inch pan.

In mixing bowl, cream melted butter with sugar. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add in flour and salt and stir until thorougly combined. Spread into pan - batter will be very thick - and sprinkle with additional sugar if desired. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes or until just barely golden on top unless using larger pan - then check after 20 minutes. Cool and cut into squares to seve.

To make this into Butter Almond Cake - simply use 1 teaspoon of almond extract instead (but I usually add a 1/2 tsp vanilla too), put into an 8" or 9" cake pan and sprinkle with a handful of sliced almonds on top. This is a wonderful cake that I serve in wedges with strawberries or raspberries on the side for a lovely summer dessert.

Five Element Analysis

These cookies are very sweet so they naturally belong to the Earth Element more than any other element and the dense texture contributes too. But, the wheat flour adds the Wood Element and the eggs contribute the Water Element. Butter as a derivative of milk belongs to the Metal Element. The Fire Element is only represented by the bit of vanilla extract so serve with some tea and coffee. If making the almond cake, the almond adds even more Earth and serving fruit like strawberries or raspberries amps the Fire Element. Surprisingly, this sweet little snack ends up being more balanced than expected!

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