One summer while I was living in New York City, my sister Rebe came to visit amidst a strong bout of mono. I remember she was miserable, but forced herself to make the trip because it was my then best friend/roommate’s and my birthday weekend (our birthdays are 5 days apart).
The entire visit was basically spent dragging around a half-sleeping baby. Rebe put up a strong fight against her tiredness, but in the end, she just couldn’t win. Any chance she’d get, she’d rest her head on her arm and try to fall asleep.
One afternoon, I asked if we could go up on my roof to see Manhattan from above. I was living in the Lower East Side at the time, and my apartment building had a fantastic view of the city.
Rebe, bless her heart, agreed to do it. We climbed the one flight of stairs separating us from the roof and halfway up the stairs, it began:
“Sarah, I can’t do it. I’m too tired.”
“Yes you can! We’re so close!” I told her. She moaned and soldiered on.
The roof had a ‘normal’ part that made the view partially obscured by the roof’s ledge, and then a 5 foot tall block in the center that allowed you to see the city in its entirety. We were going to hop onto it.
I pointed to the block and Rebe said, “No, I can’t do it.” Me being the ever bossy older sister, said “Yes you can! I’ll boost you up, then we can lie down and catch some sun.”
“Sarahhhhhhh,” she wined. But I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I put out my hands to give her foot a boost, but she resisted. “Nooooo,” she said.
The next five minutes were spent trying to coax her onto the block. We were SO close, I told her! Literally just lift your leg up and we’re there!
But she didn’t budge. She just stood there with her head on her forearm and her forearm on the block, eyes closed and half asleep. I couldn’t stop laughing. She couldn’t stop, either, even with her tiredness. It was comical: she merely had to lift a leg, and she wanted so badly to make me happy, but she just couldn’t.
I finally backed down and told her it was OK, that we could go downstairs and she could take a nap. But to this day I laugh every time I think of that story. She tried so hard to push through the tiredness for my sake, but that 5 foot block was just too much. She couldn’t lift her leg. God, what a gem, my sister.
This strawberry almond tea cake has nothing to do with that story. But it is delicious. The almond meal makes it extra moist, and the slivered almonds on top provide a great crunch. Plus, it’s made in one bowl and yet gorgeous enough to present to a dinner crowd. Win-win.
- 1/2 cup salted butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons vegetable (or canola) oil
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- pinch orange zest (just a little)
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8" cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter, oil, eggs, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add in orange zest and both extracts.
- Turn speed to low and add in flour, almond flour, baking powder, and salt until just mixed. Fold in strawberry slices.
- Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Top with slivered almonds. Bake for 40 minutes, or until cake is lightly brown on top and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before sprinkling with powdered sugar and slicing into triangles.