the big picture – orange-scented honey almond cakes

the big picture – orange-scented honey almond cakes

Ever since 2014 rolled around, I’ve been out of luck. I’m not talking about major catastrophes in my life—just the feeling that everyday, the universe is going against me.

I’ve been struggling with shoulder and elbow issues, which prevent me from a full-on workout. My right ear was clogged for almost a month. I wanted to have it checked out before our CA trip but couldn’t get a doctor’s appointment (even though I told them it was an emergency). Thank goodness there were no headaches, dizziness, or imbalance for the duration

The bad luck continues with rainy weather in Palm Springs, where I hoped to get a few days of sun. My flight to SF was 3-1/2 hours delayed, so I missed my connecting flight and the airline wasn’t sure if I could retrieve my luggage in SF or if was going down to Palm Springs without me.

I went to the ear doctor upon my return, and he unclogged my ear in 10 minutes. As I enjoyed unmuffled sounds once again, I thought my luck was finally changing. The following day, carrying my German Chocolate Cake to a restaurant for my friend’s birthday dinner, I twisted my ankle crossing the street. I managed not to tumble and spill the cake onto the sidewalk. My ankle, however, swelled up, and I could barely walk the next day.

I’ve been whining “Why me?,” but eventually stepped back to look at the big picture—maybe it’s just a rough patch, maybe the universe is trying to shake up my structured life.

I’ll slow down for now until it passes. In the mean time, these little cakes are necessary for the balance of my good being. Orange, honey, and almonds—What could be bad about that?

PS: I just dropped my phone and the screen cracked into smithereens.


Orange-scented Honey Almond Cakes


Honey Almond Cake
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) cake flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 5 ounces almond paste
  • 12 tablespoons (6 ounces/1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
Orange Vanilla Glaze and assembly
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 4-5 teaspoons orange juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and partially crushed



Honey Almond Cake

1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325℉. Spray a 6-count bundtlette pan with cooking spray, set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl, set aside. Whisk eggs and extracts together in a measuring cup, set aside.

2. In the bowl of standing mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, beat sugar, orange zest and almond paste on medium-low speed until sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and beat until mixture resembles coarse sand, about 2 minutes.

3. Add butter and honey, increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Reduce speed to medium-low, add vanilla-egg mixture, a little at a time, beat until combined. Add flour mixture in two additions until barely combine, with a few white streaks still visible. Remove bowl and finish mixing by hand with a rubber spatula.

4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared baking pan, about 3/4 full, bake until cakes are golden brown, toothpick inserted into cakes comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on cooling rack for 5 minutes, then unmold by inverting the pan onto a lightly greased cooling rack, set over a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cool for 20 minutes.

Orange Vanilla Glaze and assembly

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, Grand Marnier, vanilla extract, salt and 3 teaspoons of orange juice. Add remaining orange juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, to achieve a smooth pourable consistency

2. Spoon half of the glaze over cakes and let set for 5 minutes. Spoon the rest of the glaze over cake and sprinkle toasted almonds on top. Serve. (Cakes can be stored in airtight container at room temperature for 2 days)