Almond-Saffron cake

Ingredients

1/3 cup milk
1 jar saffron threads ( a generous 1/2 teaspoon)
Grated zest of 1 orange ( about 2 teaspoons)
2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 (8-ounce/240ml) can or 1 cup almond paste
1 cup powdered sugar, extra for topping if desired
5 large eggs
1 ( 8-ounce/240ml) container sour cream
Juice of one orange ( about 1/3 cup, optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (200°C). Lightly grease and flour 2 (8-inch/20cm) round cake pans. Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add saffron and zest. Bring just to a simmer; remove from heat and set aside.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in salt.

3. Beat together butter and almond paste at medium speed in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment about 3 minutes or until creamy. Slowly add powdered sugar and beat until fluffy, scraping down the sides. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture alternatively with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating at medium speed just until blended after each addition. Add reserved milk mixture; beat just until blended. Be careful not to overmix.

4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Shake pans gently or use a spatula to smooth tops. Bake at 350°F/200°C for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from pans and serve warm, dusted with more powdered sugar or drizzle with orange juice combined with 2 or 3 tablespoons powdered sugar if desired.

* Stir flour before measuring.
** Do not use marzipan, which contains added sugar

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