Cause for Celebration

Make chocolate amaretto cake a holiday tradition

December is a month of gift giving and family gathering. As our family comes together this year, a recipe from our daughter-in-law, Jennie, for amaretto cake will be requested. The cake has a chocolatey, almond flavor and a light texture that needs only a dab of whipped cream to finish it off.

Other family favorites will also be on the list. We’ll prepare traditional ones that have come to us from my mom, grandmas and aunts and also experiment with new recipes. As always, the holidays will be filled with family, fun and food. But we have extra cause for celebration this year. Joining us is our first grandchild, Walter, the very best gift we could receive.

RECIPE: Chocolate Amaretto Cake

INGREDIENTS

Butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray
3/4 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup slivered almonds
1 cup baby amaretto cookies
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
4 large eggs
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for sifting

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a 9-inch springform pan with the nonstick spray. Refrigerate. Micro-wave the chocolate until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds, for about 1 minute.

Combine the almonds and cookies in a food processor. Pulse until the almonds and cookies are finely ground. Transfer the nut mixture to a medium bowl. Add the butter and sugar to the processor and blend until creamy and smooth. Add the grated orange peel and pulse briefly, until incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time. Blend until the eggs are incorporated. Clean the sides of the mixing bowl and blend again. Add the nut mixture and melted chocolate. Pulse until blended. Clean the sides of the bowl. Blend again.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until the center puffs and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes.

Transfer the cake to a platter. Sift the cocoa powder over and serve. Top with dollop of whipped cream.

Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis.

Nancy Lynch is a self-taught cook from a family of foodies. She teaches cooking classes at Orange Tree Imports and All Through the House in Stoughton. E-mail your questions, comments or recipe requests to diningin@madisonmagazine.com.

Find more Dining In recipes here.

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