Cocoa marzipan loaf cake

Somehow, even with all the cookies and treats sitting around the house, I still managed to do a little more baking during our holiday break.  I'm still "high" on all the wonderful, cozy memories from the holidays.  I know I may be breaking protocol by talking about things like cake right now in early January but I want sweet things like cake to be a part of my life every month of the year.  In moderation, if we must...
During our time off, I was browsing old cookbooks and decided to whip up this cocoa marzipan loaf cake I saw in one because it sounded so good.  By my way of thinking, one can always use a simple "everyday" cake around the house (no matter how many cookies you have on hand), ready for afternoon snacking and a cup of tea. And when something involves chocolate and almond paste, well, I just can't resist.  So if you're like me, you find yourself shrugging your shoulders, thinking 'why not', and heading into the kitchen to make it happen. 
Given the name, I thought this recipe would call for marzipan but it's actually almond paste, something I always have on hand and want an excuse to use (marzipan is essentially the sweeter version of almond paste).  I've come to think of this loaf cake as the chocolate cousin of the almond bread I make often.

In full disclosure, this cake is originally titled cocoa marzipan pound cake but I went with loaf cake because there is not a pound of butter involved and pound cake tends to conjure up that image for a lot of us.  But if you're like me, any time you see a loaf cake like this, you do think pound cake in terms of texture and flavor but I think this is better...you have added depth from cocoa powder and moisture and flavor from the addition of almond paste.  My family and I tend to love all bakes with almond paste and we enjoyed this cake without exception.  
I was glad I persuaded myself to squeeze this bake into our schedule last week. 


I found this recipe in The Great Book of Chocolate.  Being the serious chocolate lover that I am, I love this little book, which is packed with tons of chocolate info., along with some recipes like this one.  I like to take the book out once in a while for a little chocolate theme reading and inspiration.
I didn't need two loaves so I divided the recipe in half to make one.  As you can see below, it doesn't make a ton of batter, so it's not a very tall loaf cake.  Be sure to use a 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (instead of a 9x5 inch).  
I really think almond paste makes so many things, so much better!  To cakes, it adds moisture, that sweet nutty flavor and fragrance, as well as a slight chewy texture that is always so satisfying.  
In the header to this recipe, David Lebovitz says that having almond paste in the pantry is like having that "little black dress" in the closet.  I could not agree more.

Recipe:

Cocoa Marzipan Loaf Cake
Adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate by David Lebovitz

- For one 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf cake (scaled down from original recipe for two loaves) - 

3.5 ounces (100g) almond paste 
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
3/4 cup (105g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (25g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (115g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup milk (I used whole milk)
1/3 cup (50g) sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray an  8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with baking spray (or butter, then dust with flour, tapping out excess).  If desired, line bottom with a piece of parchment paper and lightly spray with cooking spray (this is optional but will ensure easy removal without breakage).  

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat almond paste, sugar, and almond extract together until almond paste is broken up into very fine pieces, like small crumbs.  

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together.  (While I often whisk dry ingredients together instead of sifting, I highly recommend it here to remove any lumps from the cocoa powder.)

Add butter to the almond paste mixture and beat until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Stir in half the dry ingredients, then the milk, followed by the remaining dry ingredients.  

Scrape batter into the prepared loaf pan, smoothing the top.  Sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top.  Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes, then remove the cake from the pan (removing parchment paper, if using) and let cool completely on a wire rack.



34 comments:

  1. I love the idea of an everyday cake that's always around the house :) This looks so pretty!

    Sues

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    1. "Everyday cake" does have a ring to it...sounds like something we *should* have! ; )

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  2. Using almond paste in baking is very popular here in Germany. Love this beautiful cocoa loaf..this would be a perfect recipe to use up all my holiday leftovers too. Thanks for sharing, Monica.

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    1. I love seeing/learning about Germany cookies and baked goods during Christmas. So much to learn and apparently, lots of deliciousness if it involves almond paste. I always need to have some in my house for 'emergencies'. : )

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  3. Yum!! I love the combination of chocolate and marzipan. I absolutely love almond paste and am trying to figure out more ways to incorporate it into my baking. This recipe sounds fantastic!

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    1. I have discovered so many great uses for almond paste and it hardly ever disappoints...I can't even think of an example! : )

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  4. The texture of this cake looks "out of this world" delicious! You know I'm all about the chocolate and almond paste - so this is truly a must make for 2016! So pretty Monica - glad you are still baking :)

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    1. Oh yes...we are definitely on a united front as far as almond paste goes. Love that! I just made a small batch of monster cookies today, Tricia...can't stop/won't stop... ; )

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  5. This loaf cake is beautiful, Monica! It definitely has me feeling all warm and cozy! I love the almond paste in here! The texture of the cake looks perfect - a slice of this would go perfect with a cup of tea right now :)

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    1. Thanks so much, Kelly...I like to use the fact that I need a little something to serve with tea as a reason for baking things! ; )

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  6. This cake is seriously stunning! Love the almonds and almond paste- your desserts are always stunning and elegant :) Pinning!

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    1. You're very sweet, Medha. Thank you!

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  7. I'm absolutely loving the texture of this cake Monica! I think I drooled when I saw the cut slice :D

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    1. If I manage to make anyone drool, I'm a happy girl. Thanks, Lorraine!

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  8. I actually think everyday cakes like this are my favorite! I loving having them with coffee or tea for snacks, etc. That batter looks so nice and thick! And it sounds fantastic!

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    1. I'm with you...most occasions, this is the kind of cake that's just enough sweetness and indulgence but not too heavy. Have a great weekend!

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  9. I could always use more cake! Love the texture, looks so moist and satisfying! The slivered almond topping is so pretty!

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    1. I think the same way, Melanie. : ) I love cakes and things with almonds, almond paste, etc...

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  10. Yum!!! This looks so delicious. I love new cake recipes. It looks like it will go great with tea time! :) Thanks for sharing the recipe. Great photography, as well!

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    1. A cake is definitely a special thing, no matter what kind. Thanks for the kind words. Enjoy the weekend!

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  11. Lovely looking cake Monica. I'm completely tempted to bake this one !

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    1. Hope you do...can't go wrong baking with almond paste!

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  12. I love this cake!! I wish I was having a piece right now with my coffee!

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    1. It's one of those simple cakes you can always use for a little treat. : )

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  13. A rich delicious and moist bread is always welcome. Maybe it could pass as a breakfast bread...well I would certainly like it for any time of the day. I have not baked with almond paste before so must give this a try. Wishing you a super weekend and take care. Are you getting ready for Chinese New Year?

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    1. Almond paste bakes are so good on their own...but I've discovered that some chocolate never hurts it either. : ) We're looking forward to Chinese New Year though, to be honest, we don't do all that much. There'll be family dinners and I will attempt to cook a couple of simple New Year dishes for dinner at home but that's about it. Hope you have a festive celebration to look forward to.

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  14. This is my kind of loaf cake! I adore almonds, especially when combined with chocolate. The texture looks amazing!

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    1. It's almonds again, right!?! I can't get enough...

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  15. I've never thought of using chocolate and almond paste together, but I think almond paste makes everything great!

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    1. As I mentioned above, Beth...almond paste bakes are excellent on their own but being the chocolate lover that I am, I am happy to add chocolate and it does not hurt a bit.

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  16. Looks great adorned with sliced almonds! And, I do love having a slice of such 'everyday' cakes with my cup of tea or coffee.

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    1. Hi Balvinder - Happy New Year! Hope to see more recipes from you this year. Your new home looks wonderful...and hope there will be plenty of sweet bakes coming out of it!

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  17. Hi Monica, love your version of a simple everyday cake, love that almond paste is involved.

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    1. I have high expectations when almond paste is going into a bake, Cheri. This cake does not hurt. ; ) Hope all is going well so far this year.

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