A gift of dried fruits is always appreciated, adding a "somewhat" healthy option to the plethora of cookies, cakes and candies usually consumed during the holiday season. I've been snacking on some of the dried fruits out of hand, and using them in my morning oatmeal, but the diverse array included in the lovely tray from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law got me thinking that they'd look (and taste) wonderful in a pound cake.
Not that I needed more desserts now that the Christmas treats were gone.
Well, maybe precisely because the Christmas treats were gone was reason enough to bake these cakes.
So there they were, fresh out of the oven, waiting to be eaten.
If I can't fit into my jeans any longer, I'm blaming it on my brother-in-law Joe and sister-in-law Jan.
They made me do it.
Dust the top with powdered sugar. If you're feeling creative, cut a stencil of pears (or whatever else you can dream up) and hold it in place with toothpicks before you sprinkle with the sugar.
Remove gently so you don't smear the design.
Slice and admire the jewel-like studs of dried fruits, but most importantly, enjoy a piece of cake.
Almond Pound Cake with dried fruits
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla
8 ounces almond paste, room temperature
6 large eggs
2 cups dried fruits, diced or minced (I used dried apricots, prunes, pears and peaches and next time would use even more)
Sift flour, baking soda and salt together. Place butter, sugar, vanilla and almond paste into a mixing bowl and beat until everything is blended, three or four minutes. Add eggs, beating in one at a time. Slowly add flour mixture and beat until blended. Fold in dried fruits and spoon batter into two buttered and floured 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees about one hour and 10 to 15 minutes.