Almond Half-Pound Cake

Almond Half-Pound Cake

Ever since my childhood days with Sara Lee, pound cakes have held a special place in my heart. They’re rich, velvety, and so wonderful dipped in chocolate.

The problem is, they’re called pound cakes for a reason. As in, the pound of butter that gets thrown in per loaf. Dessert blogger or not, I just can’t get behind that unless it’s a very special occasion. But for a pound cake lover, what to do?

This is my second half-pound cake posting. The first had browned butter in it, and I loved it. This one is bursting with almond flavor. The best part is, you can literally cut the butter in half and not miss it. This I swear to you.

Almond Half-Pound Cake

We often think we’ll miss things that we wind up not noticing at all. To be honest, I don’t miss Coke. I really thought I would when I gave it up a few years back, but nope. And I don’t miss Sunday morning hangovers, which were an occasional product of my single years. Nope. Not a fun feeling. And for sure I do not miss the days when women weren’t given more choices and rights. Not that I fully remember those days, not having been born yet and all.

Almond Half-Pound Cake

When I got married, I chose to (as it’s called) “keep” my name. Luckily, my mother’s generation paved the way for this practice to become a possibility, but I still field way too many questions and raised eyebrows for my taste. When women get married and choose to take their husbands’ names, I don’t question it. It’s a nice practice, and I’m not knocking it at all. It’s just not the path I wanted to take.

My husband’s name happens to be even more difficult to spell and/or understand than mine, which was a practical motivation for my not changing the unusual Russian surname I was born with. That aside, I grew up with an identity strongly tied into my name, and I also established my professional credibility with that name. By the time I got married, I’d been teaching in my county for several years. I knew who I was, and for some reason, my last name was a huge part of that.

Almond Half-Pound Cake

And it still is. I also decline to be addressed by the title “Mrs.” and instead go for the “Ms.” of 1970s-era women’s rights invention. If someone calls me by the other title I don’t say anything or get offended, but I’ve always preferred “Ms.” because it’s the exact equivalent as “Mr.” for men. In other words, it doesn’t indicate marital status. I’m happy to be married, but I don’t want my title to say anything about my personal life if my husband’s doesn’t, either.

But all of these are choices, which is great. We used to live in a time when there were fewer options and when people got put into categorical boxes. People should be able to choose how they want to be perceived, what they want to be called, and what constitutes their identity. Unless, of course, that identity is grounded in violating somebody else’s peace or safety.

Almond Half-Pound Cake

At the risk of over-preaching, I’ll sit back and take a break from that and get back to what I don’t miss. I don’t miss my last name because I never got rid of it. And I don’t miss the extra half-pound of butter in this cake because it doesn’t need it.

This recipe gets a lot of extra richness from sour cream. I used the reduced-fat kind, but I also wonder how Greek yogurt would work out. My guess is that it would be great. In addition to everything else, almond meal gets mixed into the batter. While you can make almond meal for cheap by grinding your own almonds, I like to buy mine at Trader Joe’s. It saves a lot of food processor time.

Almond Half-Pound Cake

When this cake is all done, it’s pretty elegant. You can serve it by itself, top it with vanilla ice cream, or dip chunks into chocolate. And the whole cake is full of little almond flecks. It looks so tasty. The almonds on top get nicely toasted, too. It’s an almond lover’s dream!

If almonds were to disappear tomorrow, I would totally miss them. Much more than Coke, or VHS, or those baby t-shirts that I wore in high school and thought were the best articles of clothing ever invented. Ultimately, we all decide who we want to be, and we reserve the right to make the choices that are best for us. Otherwise, we might miss out on what we really like, who we are, and who we want to become.

 

Almond Half-Pound Cake

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond meal (from a bag or ground via food processor)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 and 1/2 cups flour
pinch of baking soda (about 1/8 teaspoon)
pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/2 cup sour cream (I used light)
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Pour half of the dry mixture into the batter and mix. Add the sour cream and beat again. Add the remaining flour and mix until smooth.
  4. Pour in the almond meal and mix until just incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and sprinkle the almonds on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool and release from the pan. Cut into slices.
http://justaboutbaked.com/almond-half-pound-cake/

Mir

I fulfill many roles in life: wife, mother, teacher, everlasting learner. This site is dedicated to one role that expresses my creativity in ways that I find consistently challenging and rewarding: baker. Inventing new ways to enhance food, especially if that food involves chocolate or peanut butter (or both!), is a passion of mine. I look forward to sharing my ideas with you.

This Post Has 38 Comments

  1. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    It’s funny you mention Sara Lee pound cakes because I just bought one on Saturday! I haven’t had one in years so I just had to cave. This almond half pound cake looks delicious, Mir! Love that it requires half of the butter and still all of the taste! Sounds incredible!
    Gayle @ Pumpkin ‘N Spice recently posted…Berry Skillet CobblerMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Those pound cakes are SO good. I need to give in and buy one, too!

  2. Aimee @ ShugarySweets

    Yeah, I don’t miss Diet Cokes either. And almonds are seriously the best in cakes. This pound cake…I’m sorry, HALF pound cake looks amazing!!
    Aimee @ ShugarySweets recently posted…Chocolate Cookie Dough FudgeMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Almonds are my most favorite thing ever, Aimee. And soda is surprisingly un-missable. Must not be that good!

  3. Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes)

    Pound cakes definitely hold a special place in my heart that’s for sure!!
    Jocelyn (Grandbaby cakes) recently posted…Crispy Buffalo WingsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Mine too, Jocelyn!

  4. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy

    You know what, I never knew that is why they were called pound cakes. I have always wondered.

    Ahhh, Sara Lee cakes bring back happy memories. Everyone in my family always had a Sara Lee cake for their birthday.
    Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy recently posted…Comment on Balsamic Roasted Ratatouille Spaghetti by DanniiMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Sara Lee is definitely a nostalgia thing, Dannii. And yep, a pound of butter. Not so healthy!

  5. Harriet Emily

    I never actually knew that about pound cakes!!! Thanks so much for sharing Mir, and I love that you made your own version with half sour cream, it’s perfect for when you’re looking for a lighter option! Almonds are one of my favourite things to eat and cook with too, so I would definitely be sad if we lost them – lets hope they stay around! 😀
    Harriet Emily recently posted…CHERRY, BANANA & NECTARINE SMOOTHIEMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I would cry if almonds went away. And I don’t typically cry, Harriet Emily!

  6. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Mir, my husband is super traditional so me not taking his last name was not an option .. but I didn’t mind either way. . my sister kept our last name “Lee”. . I think it’s great that women today have the option you know? and it’s funny. . I drank Dr. Pepper when I was a kid like there was no tomorrow .. it’s crazy how much soda we drank as kids (and my kids still haven’t ever even asked to taste soda yet?) maybe it’s b/c I don’t think soda at all but they see my husband drinking diet coke all the time. anyway, I don’t even remember how I weaned myself off dr. pepper . . 😛 love love love this ALMOND pound cake! beautiful!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted…Simple Cantaloupe Salad + A Giveaway!My Profile

    1. Mir

      That’s so funny you say that. My husband is traditional, but he also doesn’t really ever argue about anything. He’s way too laid back! So I won that one. I also used to love Dr Pepper, and now it’s just not exciting. Funny how that happens.

  7. Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks

    I didn’t want to change my name when I got married either. I just didn’t want to have a different last name than my kids. I went for the hyphen. Combine that with the fact that I use my middle name rather than my first name and I am one hot mess with all kinds of complications. Unlike this half pound cake that is straight up perfect!
    Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks recently posted…Patio Passion Martini KnockoffMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Hyphens are good! But I hear what you’re saying. The name thing is so complicated! And men don’t have to sweat it!

  8. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    First of all, strong independent ladies unit a-la Destiny’s Child style! lol I kept my last name too, Chicka. AND I prefer the Ms. Title. #FistBump!

    Anyways, this Half Pound Cake looks stellar, girlfriend! I am loooooovin the title and the concept alone, but the flavors and your substitutions just sound absolutely delicious! Sour cream instead of half the butter PLUS almond flour? YUM! The little specs of almond in your photos has me dribble-drooling all over my keyboard! I love pound cake, but I’m pretty certain I will be a JAB Half Pound Cake Convert! Pinned! Cheers – to our God given last name… and the right to keep it! AND delicious half pound cake! <3
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Grilled Hoisin & Honey Glazed Pork Chops with Plum SalsaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Fist bump right back. Feminism rules! 🙂 Thanks for fighting the good fight with me, Cheyanne!

  9. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    **Independent ladies UNITE. not unit. Blonde moment.
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary recently posted…Grilled Hoisin & Honey Glazed Pork Chops with Plum SalsaMy Profile

    1. Mir

      🙂 I wish I were blonde.

  10. Jen | Baked by an Introvert

    Soda is a rare treat for me. It always has been. My parents never kept soda in the house. Instead it was something I was allowed to have once a week, when we ate out for dinner. Even now, I don’t buy soda for the house.
    I like the fact that you chose to keep your last name. I had many reasons for not keeping my father’s name but if circumstances had been different, I may I chose to keep it.
    And I am completely smitten with this almond pound cake!
    Jen | Baked by an Introvert recently posted…Lemon BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Your parents were wise, Jen. I think we started out that way and then it just snowballed until I was having it way too often. We all make the right choices for us. I’m just glad we can!

  11. Manali @ CookWithManali

    I kept my last name after marriage as well. Frankly my husband and his family didn’t care whether I change my last name or not and I thought there would be so much paperwork n stuff if I wanted to changed it so I just let it go! lol I love the texture of this pound cake Mir, it’s so pretty!!
    Manali @ CookWithManali recently posted…Easy Zucchini BreadMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I know, the paperwork, right? Such a pain! That was also a motivator not to do anything. 🙂

  12. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust

    Haha, I don’t miss hangovers either. But I do miss coke (and I sneak one now and again). Love this pound cake!
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted…White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Gooey BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Every now and then, I miss Coke slurpees. Those were the best. But hangovers? Nope. Not fun.

  13. Danielle

    I love pound cake, but I agree I just don’t love all of that butter. I love that you used almond extract and almonds, such a great flavor to add!
    Danielle recently posted…Salted Caramel Almond TurtlesMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Thanks, Danielle! Pound cake is fun no matter what you do to it!

  14. Michele @ Alwayzbakin

    That looks SO good! And I’m still sitting here like an idiot thinking, “I had NO idea that is why it was called pound cake”. lol Love that it’s almond flavored! Mmmmm!
    Michele @ Alwayzbakin recently posted…Speculoos Cookie Butter PieMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Ha. Not an idiot at all, Michele. I never thought about it either until I started baking them!

  15. Mary Frances

    Almond meal + sour cream/greek yogurt combo? Uh yes yes and yes! Those thick slices are utter perfection and I really really like the almonds (they’re my favorite nut, hands down) Your photos are on point here Mir!
    Mary Frances recently posted…Coca Cola Mug Cake {and dry mix recipe!}My Profile

    1. Mir

      My favorite, too. Thanks so much, Mary Frances!

  16. Medha @ Whisk & Shout

    This cake is sooo pretty! Love the almond meal and the topping 🙂 Pinned!
    Medha @ Whisk & Shout recently posted…Chilled Udon Noodle Salad with Avocado Wasabi DressingMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Yay! Thanks, Medha!

  17. Sam @ SugarSpunRun

    “Mrs.” is SO awkward I hate being called that (I just think of my MIL every time, who is awesome, but that’s HER name not mine, ya know?). I did take my husband’s name but OMG the paperwork and hassle was ridiculous, halfway through I questioned if it was even worth it but I’d already started. I’m still finding things that need to be changed!
    I LOVE how you made this “half-pound” cake. I would totally miss almonds as well, they’re such a great snack and I absolutely adore how you incorporated them here! 🙂
    Sam @ SugarSpunRun recently posted…Lemon Crumble BarsMy Profile

    1. Mir

      I also think of my MIL, Sam! That’s her name, not mine. And I’m lazy about changing stuff. 🙂

  18. GiGi Eats

    No doubt about the fact that if I were left alone in a room with that cake, it would be gone in about 3 minutes and 12 seconds.
    GiGi Eats recently posted…Foods Fit Foodies FavorMy Profile

    1. Mir

      Being left alone in a room with cake is always so dangerous, Gigi!

  19. Katie McK

    This looks absolutely delicious! I love almond flavour cakes 🙂 Have you ever tried a Bakewell tart? Sweet shortcrust pastry, raspberry jam and an almond frangipane.

    I understand the identity you find in your name. I too have a unique name with a particular family history and I feel really tied to it. However, I know my husband-to-be feels quite strongly about me taking his name so I managed to wear him down to a hyphenation. It’s a step in the right direction I guess!

    1. Mir

      I’ve heard of Bakewell, but they don’t have it in the U.S., so I’m bummed. That tart sounds exactly like my kind of dessert!
      And the hyphenation is a good middle ground. Whatever makes you two feel comfortable!

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