Danish Almond Pound Cake (with other flavor variations)
· 8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
· 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
· 2 ¼ cups granulated sugar
· 2 eggs, room temperature
· 2-3 teaspoons almond extract (I used 3, but I like the flavor to be pretty strong)
· 1 teaspoon vanilla
· 2 ½ cups, plus 2 tablespoons, all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon baking powder
· ¼ teaspoon baking soda
· ½ teaspoon salt
· 1/3 cup milk
· 1 cup Greek yogurt
Glaze and Garnish:
· 1 cup powdered sugar
· 2 tablespoons milk
· 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
· 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
· ¼ cup sliced almonds
1. Chocolate Chip Almond Pound Cake – Stir 1 cup mini chocolate chips into the batter.
2. Butter Pecan Pound Cake – Omit the almond extract and increase the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Add 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg to dry ingredients. Stir 1 cup chopped toasted pecans into the batter. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the glazed cake.
3. Vanilla Bean Pound Cake – Omit the almond extract and increase the vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Stir in the seeds of 1 vanilla bean.
4. Lemon (Blueberry) Pound Cake – Substitute lemon juice for the almond extract and add the zest of 1 lemon. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the glaze mixture (increasing powdered sugar slightly, if needed), and garnish glazed cake with lemon curls. Could also add 1 cup fresh blueberries to the batter for a lemon blueberry pound cake.
5. Pumpkin Pound Cake – Omit the almond extract and increase vanilla to 1 tablespoon. Add 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice to dry ingredients. Substitute canned pumpkin for the Greek yogurt. Drizzle glazed cake with melted white chocolate and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
Preheat the oven to 350. Spray 1 Bundt pan or 2 standard-sized loaf pans with non-stick baking spray. (The cake is prettiest in a Bundt.)
With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar for 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed, until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the almond and vanilla extracts.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the milk and yogurt.
With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk/yogurt mixture, starting and ending with the dry ingredients, just until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Spoon batter into pan/s and smooth out the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, and the top crust is cracked, and a deep golden brown color.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, and then turn cake out onto the wire rack. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and cool completely before glazing.
To glaze the cake, combine the powdered sugar, milk and corn syrup in a bowl until completely smooth. Using a small pastry brush, “paint” the cake evenly with the glaze in a thin layer. Don’t worry about drips at the bottom. Refrigerate the cake for 5 minutes to set the glaze. Paint a second layer of glaze, using the rest of the glaze mixture. Refrigerate cake for 5 minutes to set the 2nd layer.
Melt the chocolate, if using it, and let cool at room temperature for 10 minutes. Drizzle over the cake, allowing it to run down the sides. Sprinkle chocolate with the sliced almonds, or other garnish. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to completely set chocolate before slicing and serving. Cake can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container, but is best eaten within a few days.