We have now been back in Umbria for almost two weeks and I realized yesterday that I have yet to bake anything sweet. I usually always have some baked treat that my husband can offer any of the Italian workmen or friends we might have stop by the house along with a cup of coffee, but just haven’t managed to get to it until now. Baking here in Umbria has been a challenge at times, because my oven and I have a love/hate relationship. I cannot seem to find the right temperature to bake desserts as the oven temperature fluctuates whenever it wants. If I put my oven thermometer in and see that I have to set the oven at 190 degrees C to reach 180 degrees C that is fine, but halfway through my baking period the oven temperature will then jump 15 degrees creating havoc with anything that is in the oven. I either have to stay in the kitchen while I have something in the oven constantly checking the temperature, or I end up baking the same thing twice. I have been promised a nice new HUGE range with a double oven soon that I hope will resolve my baking issues. I did manage to bake this nice Almond Loaf yesterday however and my oven actually behaved itself for a change!
I used mixed frozen berries in my loaf as our choice of fresh or frozen berries here in my part of Umbria is very limited at this point. You could choose any berries you prefer, though blueberries or raspberries would be my first choice. I also used 1/3 almond flour as I like both the flavor and texture it adds, but if you prefer you could use all-purpose flour instead. If using frozen berries, do not thaw them first before you mix them into the batter or they may be too soft/soggy and sink to the bottom of the cake. This loaf is very moist and a crumbly texture and probably should be stored in the refrigerator well wrapped if it isn’t finished the first day.
Deborah Mele 2013
Almond Berry Loaf
- 1/3 Cup Chopped Almonds
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/3 Cup Butter
- 1 Cup All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Cup Almond Flour
- 2/3 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
- Pinch of Salt
- 5 Tablespoons Cold, Unsalted Butter, Cut Into Cubes
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 Cup Milk (I Used Almond Milk)
- 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 1/2 Cups Fresh or Frozen Berries (Left Frozen) of Choice (See Notes Above)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.
- For the topping, mix together the chopped almonds, brown sugar and butter, and rub with your fingertips until you have fine clumps.
- In the bowl of a food processor, add the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Pulse, then add the butter, and pulse until you have coarse crumbs.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and extract, then add the dry ingredients.
- Stir until just combined, then fold in the berries.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan, then sprinkle the topping over it evenly.
- Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before turning the loaf out.
Adapted from Joy of Cooking