Raspberry Almond Cake - or almost Pierre Hermé Ispahan Loaf Cake

3.22.2013



I have to be honest right away, just like with the cheating on winter pea soup
This is almost Pierre Hermé´s recipe because the rose syrup is probably not what it should be. And I say probably because, having no idea what it tastes like, and, knowing there was none available here with that name that I know of, I gave up looking any further for it. I really never put much effort into it to begin with.
I infused a simple syrup with rose water.


With that out of the way, I must say that today´s recipe for French Fridays with Dorie group, Ispahan Loaf, is simply stunning. Something I obviously expected from a Pierre Hermé recipe. He developed a line of desserts with the name Ispahan, which is a name of a fragrant rose and the old capital of Persia, as Dorie explains in the book.

At first sight it´s a simple loaf cake with almond flour and fresh raspberries. Well, it is and it´s not. The method of mixing begins like a macaron, with almond flour and confectioners´ sugar being sifted and egg whites beaten. But then it changes completely with butter, egg yolks and flour. 
The beaten egg whites are added at the end. And then it´s baked in a low oven for a cake. I had to crank it up a bit after half hour or more, because the cake was still too wet and it didn´t seem to be going anywhere good. 
So the last 20 minutes or so where at 325ºC. Next time I will bake it all at this tº from the start.


Though there´s nothing that stands out much about the list of ingredients or the mixing method, it probably has to do with the amounts of the former, because the cake is soft and has an interesting texture. Though it looks compact and, in my case, barely rose in the oven, it´s not dense at all. But it´s not light either. It´s just right. 
Since I didn´t follow instructions, because I didn´t read the recipe carefully, and just scattered the raspberries in only one layer, they sank. Next time I will take the time to make two layers with three rows of raspberries each. It looks so pretty when the berries are scattered all over.
A fantastic almond raspberry loaf cake, to serve with a nice cup of tea or even hot chocolate. Or to snack during the day. Or night while working, if you´re a night owl. Or take as a gift to a friend´s house.


My cake had a very faint rose something in it. It wasn´t even a definite after flavor. I kind of went easy on the rose water with the syrup, because it can feel a bit soapy sometimes, and I wasn´t about to spoil this recipe with fresh raspberries that I love.
On another note, I second Cher, who has ideas about varying the flavors, with blackberries for instance.
This is definitely a cake that is phenomenal as a base for many other combinations. Almonds go with so many berries and fruits and flavorings that it´s worth trying it again. And again. And again.


By the way, I always thought all the ispahan creations included lychees also. I wonder why they were left out here. If we had to go online to buy rose syrup, buying canned lychees is a piece of cake. I´m very intrigued as to what it might have tasted.


ISPAHAN LOAF CAKE

I made only one row of raspberries, and they obviously sank to the bottom. So it might be better to follow the instructions.

Ingredients

2 ½ Tbs rose syrup
2 Tbs whole milk
2 cups almond flour
1 cup confectioners´ sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1 whole egg
2 ½ Tbs sugar
12 Tbs (170g) butter, at room tº
¼ teaspoon rose extract (I didn´t use it)
½ cup + 1 Tbs all purpose flour
1 pint raspberries

Directions

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and dust with ground almonds.
Mix rose syrup with milk in a small bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl with an electric mixer, add butter and sift the almond flour with the confectioners´ sugar on top of it. Beat this together for 3 minutes, until light, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, while beating at medium speed. Add the whole egg and beat one more minute. Add the rose syrup and milk (and the rose extract if using). Mix well.
In a large bowl beat the egg whites until beginning to hold soft peaks, add the sugar and beat until firm and glossy. (I did it during the three minutes the butter and almonds were beating.)
With a spatula, mix the whites in three additions, alternating with the flour in two additions, into the egg batter. Do it gently but as quickly as possible.
Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Arrange half the raspberries in three rows. Add half of the remaining batter and cover gently the raspberries. Arrange the remaining berries the same way as before, and finally cover them with the remaining batter.
Lower the oven to 325ºF and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a tester inserted comes out clean. If browning too quickly, lower the oven to 300ºC.
Let cool on wire rack and serve sprinkled with confectioners´ sugar.




49 comments:

  1. I think your cake looks just lovely! It's funny how self-critical we can be. I think we Doristas hold ourselves to higher standards than the majority of people who would never attempt the things we make.

    I'll bet your rose syrup was pretty darn close.

    Have a lovely weekend!

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  2. Very flat top, I like it! Looks delicious!

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  3. Rose, almond and raspberries - the combination sounds stunning! I wish I could reach through the screen and grab a piece of that lovely loaf. I've never heard of rose syrup, but now I'm dying to try it. And I'm so intrigued by the mixing method of this cake.

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  4. Cheating is always good in the kitchen when it helps you get the results you are after. It's good to be smart enough to cheat well. Your loaf cake looks so delicious. A dusting of confectioner's sugar would be a great idea...it is a lovely finishing touch along with more wonderful raspberries.

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  5. Looks beautiful and so nice with a cup of coffee! Love that almond and raspberry combination. i am not sure about the rose water though, I am not a fan of that smell and taste :)

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  6. This was so much better than I expected...even Bill didn't notice an overwhelming rose flavor. Mine took a lot longer to bake, too. After my cheesy creme brulee fiasco, I made sure it cooked through :) Beautifully done!

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  7. I think infusing a simple syrup gave you almost the same result - that was my original intent if I couldn't find the syrup.
    Beautifully done - you have me curious about the lychees now...

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  8. Graet! I love raspberries.
    See you.

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  9. If I get raspberries here then I am going to try this on this weekend...Looks so moist..

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  10. Hmmm - interesting, I thought that my problem was my very stiff batter but I see yours looks exactly like mine did. You're right that the low temp was a problem - mine was not cooked even after 90 minutes and upping the heat in the last 1/2 hour. Sigh. I love the look of yours - well done!

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  11. I wish that I thought to make my own rose syrup before I ordered a bottle. The bottle is ENORMOUS. Your cake looks great! Mine could have used more raspberries, so, even if yours sank to the bottom, I'm sure they tasted great!

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  12. Paula - the Ispahan macaron is one of my favorite desserts- never heard of the loaf cake until no but this looks INCREDIBLE!!! thank you for sharing!

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  13. I have to admit I have yet to bake with rose water/syrup/etc. You are inspiring me to give it a try. It seems so appropriate for the upcoming spring and summer months here.

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  14. Wow! I looks really beautiful!!! Rose syrup here is not that good :( I saw another Dorie recipe that uses only the rose extract, I guess it´s better at flavouring. I have to try this recipe. Thanks Paula!!!

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  15. Even if the rose syrup wasn't *quite* what it should have been this is a stunner nontheless. It sounds wonderful.

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  16. Like the lovely pictures! I suppose the cake tastes good too!

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  17. Well it looks simply delicious - nevermind about the syrup!
    Mary x

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  18. Such a beautiful loaf of cake, Paula. I love when seemingly simple cakes are amazing in texture and flavour, as I'm sure this one is. The rose water would definitely have my weary - I'd worry that my cake would taste like perfume or soap! Thanks for all the helpful tips on this cake (i.e. temperature, scatting of raspberries, etc).

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  19. I wondered why there were no lychees either. I'm not a big fan of the fruit, but I would have been willing to give it a try. The raspberries won me over on this one, though. And the cake itself is so delicious - I could eat this for every meal and be happy. It's a beautiful cake, Paula! I kinda like all those raspberries scattered about in it!

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  20. Paula, a very pretty looking cake and the addition of those wonderful fresh raspberries makes it look even more delectable!
    Have a greta Friday!

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  21. Good point about the lychées I think they might have been delicious. I really like that you and others who made their own syrup didn't end up with pink cakes. I don't find pink cakes appealing. Glad for your success.

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  22. It is such a pretty cake with the raspberries inside.

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  23. The texture of that loaf looks super moist!

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  24. Who cares about where the raspberries are! Your cake looks perfect and delicious!

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  25. Paula...this cake is simply beautiful! I love cakes flavored with almond meal/flour...and they bake to a great texture! I purchased a bottle of rose water with the best intent of exploring new recipes for it..so this looks like a perfect place to start. Blackberries would be a great addition, too! Lovely photos.... : )

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  26. Beautiful and scrumptious cake, Paula! I have never heard of Isaphan cake nor did I ever baked with rose water. Very interesting!

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  27. Soapy! That's a perfect description of what mine tastes like! Your cake looks wonderful and the raspberries on the bottom just look like a raspberry layer.

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  28. Raspberries and almods are a favorite combination of mine. I can imagine how lush this lovely cake would be with a cup of tea! A terrific recipe!

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  29. Paula, your cake looks delicious. I wasn't a hit for me. The rose flavor was too overwhelming. I like the idea of your subtler homemade rose syrup. Of course, I have a lifetime supply of commercial rose syrup and extract to use up. As with many of us, I also had trouble with the cooking time and oven temp.

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  30. Your raspberry loaf looks fabulous. I don't know what you meant by it not doming. Was it supposed to dome? Like you commented on my Post, we both made our own syrup. I was sorta flying blind also because I had never tasted Rose Syrup before. Simple syrup and rose water. I think we would have had to put a little red food coloring in the syrup to get the pink color. I didn't especially care about the color - it was so good. I cooked it for a longer time and let it cool off in the oven for an hour before inverting it. I agree with you and Cher that this is quite a delicious cake that would work perfectly well with other fruit/berry combos.

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  31. This looks delicious and if you could use more almond flour it would be gluten-free too! I have been experimenting with almond butter brownies and almond flour in short bread bars. I love it. I will need to make this asap!

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  32. The cake looks absolutely beautiful and what I love the most about the cake is the add of fresh raspberries and the rose syrup. Must be very delicious.

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  33. I used rosewater but I think I was a bit more heavy handed than you cos the flavour came through well. I really like all your photos! And I loved this cake!

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  34. That looks perfect and chock full of raspberry. I am going to give this another try with the fresh fruit,
    but I thought the cake itself was perfect. Very interesting flavors. Have a great weekend.

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  35. I did not buy the rosy ingredients for this. I'm thinking of doing orange flower instead and make a simple syrup with that. I do like your raspberry bottomed cake - it looks delicious. Sometimes it is okay to not follow directions. :-)

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  36. Wow, that texture looks wonderful. There's something magic when you combine raspberries with a subtle rose scent!
    Heidi of 101cookbooks.com has a nice rhubarb and rosewater syrup recipe that you should check out.
    Happy weekend, Paula!

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  37. Paula, this is stunning...I swear I am going to go buy some raspberries and make it. My mouth is watering, literally, looking at that one photo I'm about ready to pin right now! Have a wonderful weekend!

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  38. Oh my what I would do for a slice of this Raspberry Almond Cake. Your baking and photographs are mouthwatering, Paula.

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  39. Your cake is gorgeous Paula. I enjoyed this one too.

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  40. Your cake is lovely! I love how you sprinkled the raspberries with reckless abandon!

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  41. I adore cakes made with almonds - in fact I had one in a restaurant last night which was so divine I've not stopped talking about it all day!
    This looks every bit as good - beautiful.

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  42. I can assure you that this is coming to a table near me SOON! Mark loves anything rose flavored and so do I. We even have a good Middle Eastern shop where we can find rose syrup. (Mark buys it in the summer and mixes it with soda water for a refreshing sip...) ~ David

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  43. thanks for another great recipe, paula. rosewater goes so beautifully with fruit like raspberries (cherries too) so, as i have a new bottle in my pantry, this cake is on the to-list.

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  44. Why oh why didn't I just turn the oven temp up like you did? I just kept thinking that the darn thing would be done any minute, and then it wasn't. Oh well, live and learn. Yours looks delicious.

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  45. Your cake looks so gorgeous! It sounds so delicious too :)

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  46. Such a pretty cake, I love raspberries with almond!

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  47. Looks beyond delicious! I am pinning the recipe :) I just baked Alice Medrich's Crunchy Almond Cake, so I think I will continue with the almond wave over the weekend.

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  48. I'm sorry to say his did not work for me. I followed the recipe exactly, just reduced the butter a bit and used orange blossom water instead of rose syrup (I love orange blossom with almond), and since I read a lot of people saying that this took ages to cook, I cooked it in a sheet cake pan, instead of a pound cake pan.
    The cake rose at first, but it did not hold, and I ended up with a very flat, fondant-like cake. The taste was great but it was a bit too heavy and greasy for me. Thank you for the recipe anyway, and for the idea of making 2 layers of raspberries, with 3 rows each, that worked great, my raspberries did not sink to the bottom!

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