One thing I can say is nothing shows more of your appreciation of friendship and love than baking something for someone when they need a little lift, a little help or just because. When I knew my friend's father was having heart surgery and knew he loves lemon, I thought this would be a great way to say Get Well.
Be prepared to fall in love with this recipe. I love love love Almond Paste and it was just a perfect addition to lemon.
La La Lemon Almond Tea Loaf
3/4 cup sifted pastry or cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
7 ounces (3/4 cup) almond paste, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 16 pieces
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons Lemon juice
Position a rack in the lower third of an oven. Preheat to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan; tap out the excess flour. (I even line the bottom of the load pan with parchment so that it ensures perfect release from the pan)
Zest a good size Lemon enough to get about 1Tablespoons of Lemon Zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt twice. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla. Whisk to just combine. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the almond paste on low speed until pea-size crumbs form, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Slowly add the granulated sugar in a steady stream and beat until incorporated. This should take about 2 to 3 minutes. If you add the sugar too quickly, the almond paste won't break up as well.
On low speed, beat in the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. This should take about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of bowl.
Increase speed to medium and cream the mixture until lighter in color and fluffy in appearance, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Still on medium speed, slowly pour in the eggs, cautiously at first, tablespoon by tablespoon. After each bit of the eggs have been absorbed, add more. If at any time the mixture appears water or shiny, stop the flow of eggs and increase the speed until a smooth appearance returns. Then decrease the speed to medium and resume adding the eggs.
Continue to cream, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl at least once, until the mixture appears fluffy, velvety and white, and has increased in volume. Including the time to add the eggs, this should take about 2 to 3 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface gently with an offset spatula. I sprinkled some leftover zest on top.
What a great golden looking bread cake!
Make the glaze while the cake is cooling in the pan...
In a bowl, stir together the sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Set the wire rack over a sheet of parchment paper or foil to catch any drips of glaze. Invert the loaf pan onto the rack and lift off the pan. Using a pastry brush, generously brush the entire warm cake with the glaze. Let the cake cool completely on the rack, at least 3 hours, or until the glaze has set.
The cake is fragile when warm so don’t try to move it. When the cake is cool, gently transfer it to a serving platter. Serve at room temperature.
It's been so hard to meet up to give it this to my friend, so as with any cake or breads you can freeze it by wrapping it in the package, then plastic wrap it a few times and then cover in foil and freeze up to 3 months.
I froze the package and yet I am keeping it the freezer, I've decided to make it again for my friend when I know it's time to see her again. Which is this week no matter what! But I did package up the bread in with wax paper, some ribbon that I made previous and will unfreeze when I have company but I am sharing the recipe with you. Just add a little note card for Get Well and you have a sweet gift.
This is definitely a great treat. The comforting taste of almond and lemon go so well together. I was infatuated with the smell filling up my home!
PS: I couldn't help but know that this tastes absolutely awesome with a schmear of Seedless Rasberry Jam/Preserves!