Bay Area LIFE: Boost dessert flavor with natural sugars

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Sweet Treats! Bump up the flavor in your dessert with natural sugars. (KGO)

Sweet Treats! Bump up the flavor in your dessert with natural sugars.

Recipe:
Five-Flavors Party Cake
Makes one 8 inch two layer cake

Preparing the pans:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup (134 ounces/50 grams) sliced almonds
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice

Cake:
1 cup (8 ounces/227 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons (412 ounces/126 grams) honey
12 cup (212 ounces/72 grams) whole raw almonds
2 cups (9 ounces/255 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
112 teaspoons baking powder 34 teaspoon fine sea salt

12 teaspoon baking soda
13 tablespoons (612 ounces/184 grams) unsalted butter, soft but still cool
1 cup (7 ounces/200 grams) evaporated cane juice
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 12 teaspoon pure almond extract
5 large eggs, at room temperature

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 ounces (113 grams) full-fat cream cheese, very soft and at room temperature
12 cup (1 stick/4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
2 tablespoons (112 ounces/42 grams) honey
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
12 cup (2 ounces/57 grams) organic confectioners' sugar, sifted

Assembly:
12 ounces (340 grams) fresh raspberries
42 almond slices

You can also use an equal weight of sliced almonds (or about 34 cup) to grind up for the cake if you have extra.
1. Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Prepare the cake pans: Generously grease the sides and bottoms of two 8-inch round cake pans with the butter. Sprinkle the bottoms of both pans with an even coating of almond slices. Dust evaporated cane juice over the almonds, about 2 teaspoons in each pan.

3. Make the cake: In a large measuring cup, whisk together the milk and lemon juice. Set aside for at least 10 minutes while you get the rest of your ingredients together (the milk will thicken and curdle-you're making homemade buttermilk!). Whisk in the honey.

4. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, process the almonds until very finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Blend for one full minute, or until the almonds have been ground to a powder.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter, evaporated cane juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and almond extract on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, giving each about 30 secondsto incorporate into the batter before adding the next.

6. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Alternately add the dry and wet ingredients in five additions,beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Fold the batter by hand several times with a largeflexible spatula to ensure the batter is well blended.

7. Divide the batter equally between the 2 prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until thecakes are golden, a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, and the cakes spring back when lightly touched, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool the cakes completely in the pans. Run a thin knife around the edges of each pan and invert the cakes onto a work surface and examine them-they both should be gorgeously golden and almond crusted. Choose the better-looking of the pair to be the top layer of the cake. Place the less fortunate cake layer almond side up on a cake plate (and tell her it's personality and flavor that really matter).

8. Make the frosting: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until totally lumpfree. Add the butter and the honey and beat until smooth, scraping the bowl often with a flexible spatula. Beat in the vanilla extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Add the confectioners' sugar and mix until smooth.

9. Assemble the cake: Spoon the frosting into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Starting about 12 inch in from the very edge of the bottom cake layer, pipe a line of frosting around the entire cake, to create a sort of "frosting dam" and make for a nice clean appearance when the cake is stacked. Fill in the circle with frosting, and use the back of a spoon or a small spatula to smooth it out into an even layer, using the dam as your guide.

10. Place a row of raspberries in a circle, shoulder to shoulder, all around the outer edge of the frosting, checking the alignment occasionally, as this circle of berries will be visible once the cake is complete. Fill in the center with more berries. Pipe a few small dollops of frosting on top of the very center of the berries as "adhesive" for the top layer.

11. Top with the second cake layer, almond side up. Pipe 7 small clouds of frosting, evenly spaced, all around the perimeter of the cake. Top each little cloud with a fresh raspberry. Gentlypress 6 or 7 almond slices around each raspberry to form a flower. Chill the cake for about 30 minutes or until you're ready to serve, giving it 15 minutes or so to soften on the counter before slicing and serving.

About Shauna Sever:
Shauna Sever is a cookbook author, baking blogger, television host and mom of two. Click here to check out her website.

With her easy, fun and accessible approach to baking, Shauna gives you the know-how to pull together simple, crave-worthy recipes that are good for the soul and get people talking.

Click here to purchase a copy of Reel Sweet.

Related Topics:
foodbay area lifebusinessbay areadesserts
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