I know many of you are participating in a dry January, but does that mean no alcohol in your baked goods too? There’s something brilliant about a splash of liqueur or an aperitif enhanced pastry, cake or cookie that tastes so special. Loaf cakes are an easier version of a layered cake because they are baked in one pan, instead of several, and can have all the same delicious qualities with a lot less work. Adding a touch of Amaro to a traditionally vanilla based cake that is dotted in deep purple blackberries is an outstanding idea because it boosts flavor and fun, and I think we all could use a little more fun.
Amaro in Italian means “bitter” and it’s basically a concoction of macerated herbs, fruits, roots, flowers and bark. Don’t let the word “bitter” scare you because not all Amari (plural) are actually bitter tasting. There are five really good Amari and I have had at least three, but my husband often leans towards the Nonino because of its smooth and slightly sweeter taste. Amaro Nonino makes a great bitter component in a Manhattan cocktail by replacing sweet vermouth, but I found that it offers an amazing splash of that something-something to my loaf cake, and an even better addition to the glaze because you can actually experience that slightly bitter pop.
Bitters and fruit go so nicely together and I look at it this way — now that you’re not drinking for at least another week until you cave-in and grab a cocktail, you have some use for that special bottle of Amaro in your cupboard. It’s delicate in nature and again, don’t let the bitter component scare you away from adding it to your bakery treats. The balance is delightful and not overpowering — it’s an adult dessert that’s worth making and serving at your next small gathering, or for pure indulgence.
10 tablespoons melted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon Amaro
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup yogurt or sour cream
1/4 cup milk
10 ounces frozen blackberries, organic preferably
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 tablespoon Amaro
1-2 teaspoons milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Line with parchment and allow edges to hang over sides.
- In a large bowl, whisk together melted butter, sugar, and lemon zest, until slightly thickened – about 2 minutes. Add Amaro and continue to whisk for another minute.
- Add eggs and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute. Add both flours, baking powder and salt, stir.
- Add yogurt and milk, stir until smooth. Add frozen blackberries and stir with a spoon until just combined.
- Spoon into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.
- Remove and let cool in pan for 20 minutes, then loosen with knife and remove from pan. Cool completely before glazing.
- In a small bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, Amaro and 1 teaspoon milk. Add another teaspoon if too thick to drizzle.
- Using whisk, drizzle glaze over top of loaf cake moving it from side to side until mostly covered. Slice and serve. Enjoy!