Cake, Y'all!: Paula Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake

Melissa Gray's cookbook All Cakes Considered includes several recipes from other bakers, including Dorie Greenspan, Ina Garten, and Paula Deen. Something about "Paula Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake" called out to me, even though I'm not really a Paula Deen fan -- in fact, I'm not sure if I've ever tried one of her recipes before. But my love of almonds was enough to draw me in.

This is an easy cake to put together. You cream room temperature butter with sugar; add sour cream; alternately add the dry ingredients (flour and baking soda) and eggs; incorporate orange extract and almond extract (I accidentally added some vanilla extract as well because I'm used to adding it to everything); and fold in toasted sliced almonds. You pour the batter into a greased Bundt or tube pan and bake.
I was shocked at how high this cake rose in the oven. It rose straight up above the rim of the pan, the same way that a soufflé rises, with the top maintaining a flat surface. It was a huge struggle trying to unmold the cooled cake even though I had generously buttered the pan. (The recipe says to unmold the cake after 10 minutes of cooling, but when it became clear that it was stuck, I thought that waiting until it was completely cool might help.) In the end, part of the outermost layer of the top crust remained stuck in the pan, but almost all of the cake made it out in one piece and a sprinkle of powdered sugar helped hide the damage. (If you look closely at the photo above, you can see that a piece of dark outer crust is missing on the top right side of the slice of cake.)

I really liked this cake. I loved shape of the slices -- gracefully tall, with perfectly level bottoms that allowed the slices to stand up with ease. The outer crust was dark, thick, and flavorful. The cake was dense but tender and moist with a lovely almond flavor, and a wonderful crunch from the sliced nuts. I couldn't taste the orange extract at all, but I didn't miss it. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Paula Deen really knows how to turn butter, sugar, and sour cream into something delicious!

Recipe: "Paula Deen's Almond Sour Cream Pound Cake" from All Cakes Considered by Melissa Gray, recipe available here at (the only differences are that that Melissa Gray adds a cup of toasted sliced almonds to the batter and skips the almond buttercream frosting, opting for a dusting of powdered sugar instead).