Warm and fuzzy

Warm and fuzzy

This Acquired Tastes originally ran about two years ago—around the time that From Scratch Baking Company opened.

From Scratch Baking Company brings an "upscale gourmet" twist to the restaurant choices north of town. Chef and co-owner Erica Hall brings international culinary experience back to her hometown and has brought her friend, co-owner and pastry chef, Josh Short, along with her. The store offers breakfast sandwiches and coffee drinks for early risers and progresses through salads, soups and sandwiches for lunch to Virginia ham and crab cake gourmet dinner options. Not to be forgotten are the cakes, cookies, brownies, homemade peanut butter cups and other treats from Short. Hall is particularly excited to feature local products from honey to cheeses to produce to their own From Scratch-branded jams and pancake mixes. In fact, when we spoke she had just returned from a trip to Carter Mountain Orchard and was loaded down with peaches, the inspiration behind this almond cake and peach recipe. "Local peaches are really nice right now," Hall tells us, adding, "this is a really great summer dessert."

There’s no better way to mark the peach season than an encore presentation of From Scratch’s recipe for almond cake with you-know-what on top.

From Scratch Baking Company’s Spiced Almond Cake with Virginia Peaches

1/4 cup almonds,
blanched & slivered
3/4 cup + 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
6 Tbs. unsalted butter
(room temperature)
2 eggs (large)
6 Tbs. sour cream
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
6 Virginia peaches (Halls says you can substitute nectarines, apricots, cherries
or apples)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 vanilla bean

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter and flour a loaf pan (9"x5"x3"). Finely grind almonds with flour, baking soda, salt, cloves and cinnamon in food processor, set aside. Using an electric mixer cream six Tbs. butter and sugar until combined. Add eggs slowly, one at a time and mix just until combined. Stir in sour cream and almond extract. Stir in flour mixture just until blended. Transfer batter to loaf pan and bake approximately 35 minutes until cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes and turn out to cool.

Slice peaches into eight segments each; set aside. Heat medium size sauté pan with butter, brown sugar and vanilla bean (be sure to scrape vanilla bean into pan). Bring mixture to a simmer, add peaches and cook until tender (two-five minutes).

To serve, slice cake, top with vanilla ice cream and warm Virginia peaches.

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