Wente Vineyards partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to compile quick, easy, and impressive holiday recipes and wine pairings for holiday entertaining. We’ve given a few of the recipes a whirl here in the South Florida Food and Wine kitchen and have decided to share with you some of the more quick, easy, and impressive recipes to consider when planning your holiday menus. For a simple yet impressive Christmas cake, try the Almond Cake with Orange Crème Fraîche perfect with your morning coffee, an afternoon egg nog, or as a dessert pairing with Wente Vineyards Riverbank Riesling.
1½ cups plus ⅓ cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
¾ cup (3¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
4 large eggs
1¼ cups (8¾ ounces) plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3½ teaspoons grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
¾ teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
⅓ cup vegetable oil
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
Grease 9-inch round cake pan and line with parchment paper.
Pulse 1½ cups almonds, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
in food processor until almonds are finely ground, 5 to 10 pulses.
Transfer almond mixture to bowl.
2. Process eggs, 1¼ cups sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon zest, and
almond extract in now-empty processor until very pale yellow, about
2 minutes. With processor running, add melted butter and oil in
steady stream, until incorporated. Add almond mixture and pulse to
combine, 4 to 5 pulses. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
3. Using your fingers, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar
and remaining ½ teaspoon lemon zest in small bowl until fragrant, 5
to 10 seconds. Sprinkle top of cake evenly with remaining 1/3 cup
almonds followed by sugar-zest mixture.
4. Bake until center of cake is set and bounces back when
gently pressed and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean,
55 to 65 minutes, rotating pan after 40 minutes. Let cake cool in
pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Run paring knife around sides of
pan. Invert cake onto greased wire rack, discard parchment, and
reinvert cake onto second wire rack. Let cake cool, about 2 hours.
Cut into wedges and serve. (Store cake in plastic wrap at room
temperature for up to 3 days.)
ORANGE CRÈME FRAÎCHE
Makes about 2 cups
1 cup crème fraîche
2 tablespoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
Remove 1 teaspoon zest from 1 orange. Cut away peel and pith
from oranges. Slice between membranes to release segments and
cut segments into ¼-inch pieces. Combine orange pieces and zest,
crème fraîche, sugar, and salt in bowl and mix well. Refrigerate for
Wente Vineyards Riverbank Riesling 2013. (SRP $15) This wine reveals its sweet side with aromas of honeysuckle and peach, with a hint of nutmeg warmth. The wine’s acidity balanced with its semi-sweetness is a perfect pair for this nutty almond cake with orange crème fraîche.
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