Beat the winter chill by digging into this delicious cake filled with the goodness and health of almonds.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons almond extract
8 ounces almond paste
1 cup confectioners` sugar
4 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup blanched almonds
4 drops red food coloring
4 drops green food coloring
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until well mixed with an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Blend in flour and salt. Mix in almond extract. Turn batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick when inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan, and transfer to a wire rack to continue cooling.
Break off tablespoon-sized pieces of the almond paste, and shape into holly leaves. Using the tip of a knife, score the shaped holly leaf to resemble veins in the leaves. Mix green food coloring with a small amount of water and brush the holly leaves, repeating until desired color is reached. Set aside on waxed paper. Break off 2 tablespoons of almond paste, and knead in several drops of red food coloring. When color of almond paste is a bright red, break off smaller pieces. Roll into balls to resemble holly berries. Place on waxed paper.
In a small bowl, combine 1 cup confectioners` sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. When the cake has cooled, drizzle with the confectioners` sugar glaze. Top with blanched almonds, and garnish with the marzipan holly leaves and berries.