We are two days away from my favorite holiday of the year. Our tree from Oregon is all decorated and there are wrapped gifts pretty much all over the house. There are many reasons I love this holiday. One, spending time with our dearest friends. Two, decorating the tree with a big collection of ornaments and the mantelpiece with holly and candles. And three, eating delicious foods, especially this cake. My mom makes it every year and I have to admit that I haven’t really loved it in the past because I don’t love raisins. But I guess my taste buds have changed because I love it now. It’s a perfect breakfast item for Christmas morning. What better combo then a yummy cake with tea or coffee and colorful packages under the tree.
Like last year, we are going to Tavern, in L.A., for dinner on Christmas Eve. We had such an amazing meal there last time, including their famous “Snicker Bar”, that we couldn’t resist going back. Then on Christmas Day, we are having an Italian feast.
If you don’t know what to make for Christmas morning, I really encourage considering this cake. You will love it. We wish you all a yummy Holiday.
P’s note: Tulband is something we had every year at Christmas time growing up in Holland. Every year we still (my mom and sisters) try to improve the recipe and some years we are more successful then others. This year the local Dutch newspaper ran a contest to see whose tulband was superior. This is the winning recipe and is honestly the best we’ve ever made! The magic ingredient is almond paste, making it moist and lovely. Replacing the rum with Amaretto enhances the flavors beautifully. It’s a keeper! Thanks Mama!
Makes 1 bundt cake
3 1/2 ounces golden raisins (100 grams)
3 1/2 ounces brown raisins (100 grams)
2 ounces dried apricots (60 grams)
85 ml Amaretto
7 ounces almond paste (2/3 cup or 200 grams)
7 ounces best quality unsalted butter (1 stick and 6 tablespoons or 200 grams), at room temperature plus some additional to coat the baking pan
1 tablespoon dried bread crumbs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (125 grams)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 lemon
4 pastured eggs
1 2/3 cups and 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose white flour (7 ounces/200 grams)
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Chop the apricots the same size as the raisins and soak all the dried fruit in the Amaretto for 24 hours. Stirring occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 325F degrees (160 C).
Brush the bundt baking pan with some melted butter and sprinkle the breadcrumbs all over the pan. Shake it around and turn upside down above the sink to remove excess crumbs. In a fine sieve, strain the raisins/apricots mixture and reserve the Amaretto. Mix the 1 tablespoon of flour with the dried fruit. Combine the remaining flour, baking powder, and salt. Set a side. Combine the sugar with the lemon zest. Set a side.
Place the almond paste in a bowl of a stand mixer and start paddling. Gradually add the butter in chunks, the sugar with the the lemon zest, and the reserved Amaretto. Beat until creamy and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one. Beat until airy. Add the flour at once and beat a few more times to combine well on low speed. Scrape down the bowl to make sure there are no pockets of flour left.
With a spatula, fold in the dried fruit. Transfer the cake batter to the prepared bundt pan and smooth out the surface. Place into the oven, reduce the temperature to 300F (150C) and bake for 50 minutes. Check with a tooth pick if the cake is done or press lightly on the cake and if it bounces right back, it is done. If not, add another 5 minutes or until it is done. Remove from the hot oven and let the pan stand for about 5 minutes, then carefully invert onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!