Almond bread

This is an almond quick bread recipe I made a few days ago.  It was one of a handful of recipes I keep in a manila folder in my kitchen cabinet filled with recipes that I rip out from magazines.  This recipe dates back to the Oct. 2012 issue of Cooking Light.  It caught my attention because I love baked goods with almonds and almond paste is one of my favorite ingredients.  I love trying recipes that use almond paste because I'm rarely disappointed, and this one didn't either.
I'm undecided as to whether this should be called almond "bread" or "cake" because I enjoyed it like cake but then I think of banana bread, which I enjoy in a similar way but would never think of calling cake.  I have actually made a version of almond cake before, which does have more fat and sugar than this recipe so maybe bread is the right term to use in this case.

All that confusion and rambling aside, I'll just say this bread/cake was moist, with a really good dense (not heavy) texture thanks to the almond paste. That almond paste really gives it a bite, almost a chewiness, that I just can't get enough of.
If you're interested in a lighter alternative to pound cake, this is a wonderful option.  It tastes a lot like a light pound cake - something a bit less sweet and rich.  It's full of fragrant, almond flavor instead of being buttery (though there's nothing wrong with that).  It's also like a heartier chiffon cake, one of my all-time favorites. I added a dash of almond extract out of habit to underscore the almond flavor.  For another dimension, you could certainly throw in some lemon or orange zest.

I omitted a glaze on top of this almond bread based on personal preference; I'm not big on glazes. What I did keep was the sliced almonds on top, which add a great crunch.  If you bake the almond bread and allow it to cool to room temperature, please cut yourself a slice while the outer crust is altogether crisp and crunchy, shattering under your knife.  I just love that contrast in texture.
My fellas enjoyed this for breakfast (it's "bread", right?) but also being very similar to a classic Italian almond cake, I like it as dessert.  Don't you love it when you make something that can be enjoyed any time of day!


I have a good feeling about any recipe that starts off looking like this:
It's a good 7 ounces of moist almond paste (I prefer the canned variety).  In this case, it's been combined with 2/3 cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, and 2 tablespoons of canola oil.  Don't skimp on the sugar in this recipe, particularly if you omit the sweet glaze on top of the baked bread like I did. If you'd like to add a little additional flavor, you can add some lemon or orange zest at this point.
Once the eggs, dry ingredients, milk, and a bit of vanilla and almond extracts are added, my batter is done.  It looks lovely and thick.
Sprinkle on about 1/4 cup of sliced almonds (should you not have sliced almonds, I think some coarse sugar on top would be adequate substitute) and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 50 minutes when it's golden brown and the a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached.  Avoid over-baking for obvious reasons.
This really is like pound cake without that pound of butter and that heavy feeling you get after eating a slice!  For anyone who wants to make a trifle, this would be absolutely wonderful as the cake base, layered with some jam and whipped cream.
I know it's the dog days of summer but this cake (I mean, bread!) is really good with a cup of fresh hot coffee in the evening with the air conditioner on full blast.  I couldn't get enough of it and I'm more than happy to add this to my list of almond paste recipes!


Recipe:

Almond Bread
Adapted from the October 2012 issue of Cooking Light

- For one standard loaf (9x5-inch or 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch like I used) - 

6.75 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 ounces almond paste (I prefer canned almond paste)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup sliced almonds (you could jazz up the almond topping like this)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a standard loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl.  

Place the almond paste, sugar, butter, and oil into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat at medium-speed until well combined, about 3 minutes.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl as needed.  Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix to combine.  

On low speed, add half the flour mixture, the milk, then the last half of the flour mixture.  Beat until just combined, scraping the bowl.

Scrape the thick batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing out the top. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds.  Bake until bread is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes.

Cool loaf pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes before removing from the pan and letting cool completely on a wire rack.  I love a fresh slice of this bread just-cooled when the top is crunchy and crisp.  Store almond bread, tightly wrapped, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.


    




43 comments:

  1. Hi Monica, What a beautiful coffee cake. This looks delicious. Wish I had a slice with my morning coffee. It's going on my "to bake" list!

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    1. Hi Joan - thanks for checking in! : ) I hope you give it a try one day. It's really tasty with that almond paste...dense and satisfying but not heavy. I really enjoyed it.

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  2. I too love to bake with almonds. Your quick bread looks perfect with nicely golden crust and smooth texture.

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    1. This is nothing like your creative breads, Angie, but so easy for someone like me. : ) I love almonds and almond paste!

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  3. i absolutely love this: both the look and (i imagine) the flavor. I love almonds more than many other things, and to have a cake-like option that's not a cake? Brilliant. I can't believe i missed this in my old Cooking Light magazines. I love making breads like this because you do get that sweet fix without having all the excess bad-for-you things, like butter and sugar; zucchini bread comes to mind for me, since we're talking about breads that are sort of like cake. :) i'm making this for SURE.

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    1. I think you and I both enjoy these no-icing, everyday type "cakes." I appreciate a glossy dessert but this is my kind of daily treat. I love that it's hearty, not heavy...and the almond paste makes it moist and just addicting. Now you've got me thinking I need to bring zucchini bread back into my life.

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    2. i was thinking the same thing about zucchini bread! in fact, my neighbor brought me over three extremely large zucchini last night - extras from the garden. it's like fate that i make a big batch of bread now. :)

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  4. I am an almond lover. I use whole almonds, blanched almonds and almond flour in my cooking but sadly though I have never worked with almond paste. No matter, whether it is a bread or cake, it sounds delish!

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    1. Please do try almond paste! It's so good, giving your baked goods that moist, fragrant, chewy profile. I always assumed almond paste was gluten free but you might want to investigate because some might not be...I'm not totally sure.

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    2. most say gluten free on the package, but you should still double check with manufacturers.

      BTW! @Monica what brand of canned almond paste do you prefer? I need to make 2 loaves for Thanksgiving (going to try it with almond flour for one of them - if it works, then 2 - 5 more for Christmas gifts lol

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    3. My favorite brand of almond paste is made by Love n Bake, which comes in a can. Since that is hard to find and more expensive, I also use the Solo brand and I find that's also very good. I use Solo for this recipe often. Enjoy!

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  5. I love pound cake and almonds, your explanation of the cake makes me wanna bake this week. Looks really perfect.

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    1. Thanks, Asha. It is definitely like a lighter pound cake. The texture is very similar but it's kind of chewy and fragrant instead of buttery. Hope you make it one day.

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  6. This cake looks fabulous Monica! I love the taste of almonds in pastry and breads and this sounds fantastic! Love the texture of this bread and I can imagine how wonderful it tastes. It looks so pretty with the sliced almonds and would definitely make a great breakfast, snack or dessert :) Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend :)

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    1. I always appreciate your kind words, Kelly. I'm sad this cake (I mean, bread) is all gone. It was really good and I'd been enjoying a thin slice each night with a small affogato on the side...seriously! : )

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  7. Oooooh, I'm super excited to give this one a try. Like you, I'm not overly fond of glazes and prefer to leave them out. I love the idea of using almond paste in a bread/cake recipes. I can't wait to try it Monica. Thank you for the recipe and enjoy the rest of your weekend! :)

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    1. Thanks, Anne. Hope you're having a great weekend!

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  8. I love infusing almond paste into baked goods! It's such a nice change from everything always being vanilla. :)

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  9. I always wonder about the name too. It's commonly called bread and cake yet I still don't know which one is more appropriate. It's not bread like we eat for breakfast but not a cake like dessert cake... Wish there is a specific name for this type of bread/cake! I love almond slices and this caught my attention! Looks so good, I can eat this with a cup of tea everyday!

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    1. Yes, there are a ton of "explanations" between why something is called cake or bread (or muffin). It might have to do with whether there's frosting, how it's made, the texture, and how much sugar/fat are in it, etc. but it's all a bit blurry. It just tasted good so I'm happy no matter what it is! : )

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  10. This is such a gorgeous loaf. I love almonds in my pastries too. Can't wait to give this quick bread a try.

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    1. It's very easy to put together and really makes a nice, relatively light dessert. Hope you try it one day, Amy. Thanks

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  11. Beautiful baked! It looks moist and inviting enough. I would believe this is a buttery pound cake, but it makes me feel like I am ready to eat a few more slices : ).

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    1. Yes, it does look like a rich pound cake but the flavor is all almond because of that almond paste. You can definitely afford to have a few slices. : )

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  12. That is so cool that this bread is made with almond paste. I can't get enough of almond; it's my favorite (: Wonderful recipe!

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    1. ^That was my comment above; I don't know why the username appeared as "hi"!

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    2. Thanks for clarifying, Monica! Love anything with almond paste - maybe you'll give this a try one day.

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  13. I love baking with fragrant, nutty almond flour but I've never used almond paste before! Interesting—from your pictures it looks like the paste contributes to such a lovely dense crumb. Whether you call it cake or bread, it looks amazing!

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    1. That's exactly right, Irina! The almond paste does just that. I just could eat it from the can! haha

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  14. I am with you in regards to almond...I love everything that has almond paste...as a matter of fact I made some marzipan and still have a few logs in the freezer...this will be a great way to use my logs...the texture of this almond bread looks fabulous Monica.
    Thanks for the recipe...hope you are having a great week!

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    1. I really should try making my own almond paste to save some money...one day! Thanks for stopping by, Juliana.

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  15. Definitely perfect for breakfast because it's bread :) I want to bake more with almond paste and this has me looking forward to it!

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    1. Yes - love to bake with almond paste. I feel like it's guaranteed to be good because it gives everything that moist, chewy texture and great sweet almond taste.

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  16. I think I've said this on your past almond paste posts, but it's like one of my all-time favorite flavors...so I love that you've posted a bunch of recipes that use it :) This sounds so good!

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    1. hehee...you noticed my love of almond paste, Amy! Glad you like it so much too so you know what I'm talking about. : )

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  17. So moist! And I love that it's made with almond paste :)

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    1. Thanks, Kiran. The almond paste really makes it dense yet moist.

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  18. i can't look at this cake without wanting it SO. BADLY. you must stop making all the things i like, immediately. :)
    i loved the way you describe the texture: the chewiness of almonds in baked goods is hard to convey, i think, and between the photos and the description? i'm in love. doesn't hurt that it's beautiful, but even if were ugly, i would eat it. makes me think this would make a nice holiday bread.

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  19. okay, so how weird is it that this post (from july, now that i'm paying attention) popped into my bloglovin feed today? JUST AS I WAS CRAVING ALMONDS AND YOU WERE POSTING ANOTHER ALMOND CAKE RECIPE. It's what i call a "ghost post"; a post i was meant to see for whatever reason. It is obviously my destiny to make this cake. :)

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    1. I can relate to cravings, Shannon. One pops into my head and I've just got to attend to it because it's not likely to go away otherwise. I've been thinking about this almond bread and particularly after making the almond cake, I want to make this again and compare (I love both).

      A "hazard" of blogging is not getting a chance to make all the wonderful recipes you discovered again or more often - so I make it a point to repeat our favorites a lot and not let them fade away in the archives here. I've got to do this bread - but my son wants me to make the almond cake again so that might take priority!

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