Throwback Thursday: Almond Pound Cake with Raspberry Swirl and Glaze from The Fearless Baker

It’s been awhile since I’ve had The Fearless Baker in my hands as it is quite the popular book at the library at the moment. I was so excited it was finally mine again because I could finally post about this most awesome cake that I’d tried but no longer had the recipe for.

When Bible study is on at our place, I often experiment with gluten free baking because one of our guests has an allergy. I usually look for a recipe that would be fairly easy to adapt and this fit the bill. The pound cake is a mixture of almond meal, gluten free flour, baking powder and salt combined with butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and almond extracts and milk. Then once you’ve poured that into your bundt pan you swirl in 1/3 cup of raspberry jam and bake it for 45-60 minutes depending on your oven.

I just love a good bundt cake – they look like they take so much more effort than they actually do. But I really wanted this one to have wow factor, so I decided I wanted a berry glaze to go on top. Erin has a berry glaze recipe in her book so that’s what I was going to use until I saw that her recipe takes 2 cups of fruit juice and reduces it to 1/3 cup, similar to the bourbon/peach juice reduction in this pie. I’d been unimpressed with the reduced sauce that time so thought I’d take a shortcut and pushed raspberry jam through a fine mesh sieve to make 1/3 cup before mixing in some icing sugar mixture and some thickened cream. It needed the tiniest amount of rose pink food coloring to make the color pop, and then I poured it over the cooled cake.

It is by far the best glaze I’ve ever made, even Erin commented when I posted it on Instagram. Gotta be happy with that!

The Fearless Baker: Bourbon-Rosemary Peach Pie

Happy first birthday to Food52 Baking Club! This month, all my Baking Club posts will be throwbacks, and to start us off, I’m finally posting about that amazing peach pie I made for Pi Day several weeks ago now.

The recipe came from last month’s book, The Fearless Baker and I’ll say straight off the bat, the all-buttah pie dough was a knock out. Best pastry ever! I chucked all the ingredients in the food processor (flour, salt, butter, water) and then portioned it in half and refrigerated it as recommended. Then I rolled out the bottom half and popped it in the fridge until it was ready for filling and attempted a fake lattice for the top. I used a simple egg and water and salt egg wash on top and I was just so impressed with the recipe. It’s a bit dark around the edges but I wouldn’t change a thing.

The pie filling on the other hand, I’m not really too sure how to write about. I followed the directions to the letter and it still ended up liquidy. Fabulous tasting, but liquidy all the same. In it was peaches, bourbon, rosemary, brown sugar, butter, salt and cornflour, and the oddest thing is how much bourbon you start out with for what you end up with – you basically cook it down to a syrup, letting it reduce like crazy, but I think it sort of lost the bourbon taste in the process. And I didn’t really get smacked with a rosemary taste either, so overall the pie I wanted, I didn’t really get. I kinda think if I were to make it again I’d just use the amount the recipe wanted to end up with at the end rather than a whole cup of bourbon. And more rosemary, I can’t seem to get enough of it lately.

Of course we served it warm with ice cream – is there any other way to eat peach pie?!!

The Fearless Baker: Drop Biscuits and book review

Today we created something perfect. I was torn with what to bake today for my third and final recipe from The Fearless Baker for the month, should I make the Lemon Buttermilk Glazed Loaf or some scones?! Then I looked in the fridge and noticed we had no cream but didn’t want to commit to an hour of oven baking, so I flicked through some more and came across Erin McDowell’s Drop Biscuit recipe. And ding, ding, ding – we have a winner!

My favourite scone recipe is Date and Lemon Scones that Gary Mehigan made on MasterChef Australia in its first year. The addition of lemon zest just does something to the date flavour that makes it so much richer and I love cracking one open hot out of the oven and slathering it in butter before devouring. So when I saw in the headnote that Erin’s mom would add dried fruit, nuts or chocolate chips to the biscuits, I straight away declared we’re going to try these with dates and lemon zest.

The process was so simple. We chucked the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, bicarb soda and salt into the food processor and pulsed it, then added the cubed butter and mixed until it resembled breadcrumbs. At this stage we added some lemon zest and the dates, the blades chopped them up for us, while the dry mix insured they wouldn’t puree. Lastly we added the wet ingredients that had been mixed together, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mixed until the dough just came together.

Scoop them out with 1/4 cup measure onto a lined baking sheet and sprinkle them with raw sugar and ours baked in a moderate oven in 15 minutes.

Don’t they look gloriously golden and crunchy on the outside?! Inside they were soft and warm and flecked with bits of dates. I am so happy with this recipe that I don’t think I’ll go back to my Masterchef scone recipe ever again, especially since I ALWAYS have buttermilk on hand, but rarely have cream.

This book has been so fun to bake from and there are still many recipes I’d love to try – especially her pies and her cakes (including the lemon buttermilk loaf I mentioned above). There are also some raspberry ripple bars that have been calling to me and the peanut butter and jelly whoopie pies. Oh and the butterscotch blondies! Really the list could go on.

Erin’s flourless cocoa cookies I declared as the best naturally gluten free cookie I’ve had. These biscuits are incredible, and the madeleines were my first successful attempt! There’s also a peach pie that I will post about soon that was absolutely stunning.

I did have an incident in December where I *tried* to make the salted caramel swirl meringues and they failed miserably. The caramel sauce itself was good, but I think the weather was too temperamental to be baking meringues successfully and it just ended up one big flat swirly disc – there’s no photo because it was that bad. I turned it into a trifle with some stone fruit and whipped cream, but by the end of that dish, I didn’t want to look at another meringue for a long time. So I doubt I’ll try it again.

This is definitely a book worth picking up, it’s very approachable for the novice baker, but also has some recipes that look more challenging. I love Erin’s sense of humor, especially in her description of the different pastry decorating techniques. This is definitely not the end for this book on my blog – but from here on it’ll be relegated to Throwback Thursday.

To see the other two recipes I’ve tried from this book click on the links below: