Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Butter Almond Cake and Rhubarb-Raspberry Compote

I saw something that looked very nice on the menu of a French restaurant I visited recently.
It sounded so good, but I didn't order it because I wasn't feeling like cake at that moment- I ordered a Grand Marnier souffle instead (it wasn't a bad choice).
However, I took the cake idea...
I freely admit to keeping a teeny tiny Moleskine notebook with me. For notes.
Notes and ideas.

Nope, just cake.

Essentially, the cake is a version of pound cake or quatre quarts (in French), which is supposed to have 4 ingredients: flour, sugar, eggs, and butter.
This one is slightly gussied up.

Quatre quarts is a basic cake that's actually a specialty of Brittany in the northwestern area of France.

Butter is a specialty of Brittany, and those Breton people certainly do have some fine butter in their area...
Caramel and salt are also specialties, but we're not really discussing them today.

The compote is a nice tart accompaniment to the dense cake.
Actually, the cake texture and flavor remind me a bit of marzipan.

I use the vanilla bean because I like vanilla beans a lot, but also since I'm able to use the seeds from the pod for the cake, then turn around and use the bean (and residual seeds) for the compote. The bit of vanilla will add a faint vanilla flavor.

You can use unsalted butter, just remember to add 1/2 t salt with the butter.

Butter Almond Cake and Rhubarb-Raspberry Compote
Serves 8-10

1 c (2 sticks) salted butter, room temperature
1 c sugar
1 c AP flour
2/3 c almond flour
3 large eggs
1/2 vanilla bean (and/or 1 t vanilla extract)

Compote (makes about 2 c):
16 oz. rhubarb, washed
12 oz. raspberries, rinsed
1/2 c water
1/3 c sugar
1/2 vanilla pod (empty since the seeds have already been scraped for use in the cake)- optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a 9x5 inch bread pan.
Combine flour and almond flour in a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside.
Cream butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until lightened. Pour in the sugar and beat until fluffy. Cut the 1/2 vanilla bean open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds to the butter and mix until dispersed (or add the vanilla extract). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating until just combined.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth it out a bit (don't worry, it'll "melt" into the pan in the oven).
Bake 45-50 minutes, or until the top is golden and a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan about 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a wire rack.
Cool completely.

While the cake bakes, trim the ends and leaves and peel the rhubarb. Cut into approximately 1 inch pieces. In a large pan place the rhubarb pieces, water, sugar, and vanilla pod (if using). Cook the rhubarb over medium heat approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes soft and breaks down. Add the raspberries and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

Slice the cake and spoon compote over the top.
Whipped cream?

Leftover compote? Use it on vanilla ice cream or plain or vanilla yogurt.


  1. I love Vanilla Bean too! Where would be the best place to buy some beans? Do they sell them fresh? If so, would fresh be better?



  2. You can buy beans at the grocery store in the spice section , but they're usually pretty expensive and you only get one.
    If you can find a Penzey's (there is one in STL), it looks like you can get 3 for less than $8.
    I like to order them (more than 3 at a time) from they have many varieties to choose from.
    I find I keep going back to the Mexican vanilla beans- they're fragrant, plump, and have lots of seeds!
    A good "fresh" bean will be pliable (you should be able to easily tie it in a knot without it breaking).
    Store them in an airtight container.

  3. Natalie, this looks delicious. Next time I come you're cooking it. LOVE,Karen