These tiny morsels made with a dense almond cake and filled with strawberry jam are sure to impress your guests in both taste and presentation. Quick Almond Buttercream can be easily doubled or tripled for decorating layer cakes, cookies, and other frosting, simply purchase ready-made frosting at the supermarket.
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
2 cups sugar
1 (7-oz.) tube almond paste
6 large eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberry jam
10 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup meringue powder
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. half-and-half
2 teaspoons almond extract
QUICK ALMOND BUTTERCREAM:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Green food coloring paste
How to Make It
Prepare Cake: Preheat oven to 325°. Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar and almond paste; beat 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; gradually add to butter mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition, stopping to scrape bowl as needed. Stir in vanilla. Pour batter into a greased and floured 13- x 9-inch pan.
Bake at 325° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 20 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
Trim crusts from all surfaces, making sure top of cake is flat. Slice cake in half horizontally. Spread cut side of bottom half with strawberry jam; replace top half. Cover; freeze 1 hour or until firm.
Cut cake into 40 (1 1/2-inch) squares; brush away loose crumbs. Place squares 2 inches apart on wire racks in jelly-roll pans.
Prepare Glaze: Beat 10 cups powdered sugar, meringue powder, half-and-half, and almond extract at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Pour glaze over cake squares, completely covering top and sides. Spoon up all excess glaze; continue pouring glaze until all cakes have been covered. Let stand 1 hour or until glaze dries completely.
Prepare Quick Almond Buttercream: Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add 2 cups powdered sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add half-and-half and almond extract; beat 1 minute. Stir in food coloring paste.
Trim any excess glaze from bottom of each cake square. Spoon Quick Almond Buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and decorate as desired.
We tested with Wilton Meringue Powder, which can be found at craft and cake-decorating stores.
FIX IT FASTER: Use canned frosting in place of the glaze. Microwave the frosting at HIGH 30 seconds or until pourable. Tint glaze with desired food coloring paste, and follow glaze directions in method.
2012 Christmas with Southern Living
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