Monday, July 29, 2013

Kitties, Peaches And Almond Torte

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What a dilemma we have in our hands.

Last week two kittens showed up at our doorstep.  Actually one showed up first and two days later his sister was lounging on the doormat when my daughter opened the door. Word gets around quickly in the animal kingdom, especially when there are two suckers involved.

Originally my next door neighbor (the real culprit since she started feeding them first) decided she was going to keep the male and took him to be neutered, only to find he had been fixed before.  I immediately said I wanted no part of it.  Then my daughter got involved and that's when the trouble started.

Here's the one that started it

Ferociously guarding the front door.  When is tea time?

That night there was a blanket for the white one to spend the night.  The next morning she got breakfast in bed.   Then I got involved in spite of the fact I don't like cats.  Now she has me wrapped around her little paws. Yesterday we let her in the house for a few minutes and she was in heaven.  Yes, I can do this.  Dogs? no problem, show me my pad!   Last night was an ordeal hearing her meowing to come back in the house.

I am told sometimes people get the kitties fixed and then release them in neighborhoods like ours where they know they will be taken care of.   I wonder why they don't go the extra mile and find them a place to begin with.  There's no question in our minds that these two once had a home.  Now they have occupied my front door!

The sous chef is having a fit.  She spends all day by the window on alert mode.  We have brought her out to see the kitty and see if she calms down and doesn't chase (see where we are headed?) Everything is fine until the cat moves.

My worst nightmare come true...

Our neighbor is having second thoughts about keeping the male now and the cats, being cats and wise, have picked up on it.  The male is spending more time by our front door, even though the white one keeps him at bay.  Nah, nah, I was here first...these suckers are mine!

I just got an email with pictures of outdoor cat houses.  I think the dice have been cast.

They won't let me out...I am a prisoner in my own house!

On a serious note, if anyone in the Atlanta area is looking for a kitty or knows someone who is,  these two are available.  They are as good as it gets...seriously (that coming from someone who doesn't even like cats). The male has the cutest personality and the white female is a lady and very, very sweet. Lucy will personally escort them to your front door.  Send an email to  We really can't keep them, not with a Westie in the house.   .

Somehow I managed to bake a torte this weekend to go with the beautiful peaches I got from another neighbor.   I have a soft spot for almond cakes particularly served with fresh raspberry or peaches and creme.
The recipe is from the Chez Panisse Dessert Cookbook which is a classic and a must have.  The torte is rich, dense, and very easy to make.  Everything is made in the food processor in less than 10 minutes.

The longer the cake sits the better it gets.  Have it with a cup of tea.

Chez Panisse Almond Torte


1¼ cups sugar
⅞ cup (7 oz./200g) soft almond paste*
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract (optional)
6 eggs
1 cup (4.5 oz/130g) flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
powdered sugar for dusting


1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Beat the sugar with the almond paste until the almond paste is in fine pieces. Or, better, pulverize it in a food processor. Add  the butter and the vanilla, then cream the mixture until it is light and fluffy. Add  the whole eggs, one at a time — the eggs should be at room temperature — and beat or process after each addition so the eggs are thoroughly mixed in.

2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt, and add to mix.   Beat just until thoroughly blended.

3. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and turn the batter into it, smoothing the top evenly. Bake for 1 to 1¼ hours (mine baked for 1¼ hours) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the center feels springy when you push it gently.

4. Let cool for about 20 minutes before releasing the sides of the springform pan.

*a 7 oz tube is fine.  Make sure you buy almond paste and not marzipan.  I did not use the almond extract.  I think it is an overkill and the recipe without it has plenty of almond flavor.

Recipe adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts
Photos:  Lindaraxa


  1. Your cake sounds delightful and the kitties, too. They say an animal chooses the human that is right for them. Well, actually I made that up but it sounds good, no? Good luck!

    1. No, you are right. They do choose you as the white cat has chosen me already She knows I'm the bigger sucker!

  2. Oh, cats are smart and know the ones who are a soft touch! We've had cats who've come to stay the winter and at the first sign of spring are gone -- no longer needing that warm home I suppose!

    The torte looks amazing and I'm saving the recipe. I love almond anything. Now to find some almond paste!

    1. But Martha it's summer!

      I thought of you after I had a piece with tea. The best!

  3. What a story about the cats. They certainly seem to know the charm routine.

    Your tart sounds divine. We must be on the same wave length. We had house guests and I made an almond limoncello pound cake last night for dessert and half a stick of almond paste left.

    Hope the kitties find a good home.

    1. Well YOUR cake sounds divine. Would love to see you post.

  4. Good luck solving your cat problem! They certainly are beautiful cats. This cake looks so decadent! Almond paste is a welcome addition in cakes.

    1. I think we are in for an uphill battle. Cats are everywhere around here so not easy to place. We'll see.....

  5. Charming story of the cats who came for tea! I felt a slight pang while reading this post, recalling the day when
    a long haired calico appeared in my garden, intent on becoming a friend, which I resisted firmly--until a chilly evening when I broke down and invited her indoors for "only one night". She stayed for twenty years.

    1. That happened to my daughter with her last cat in the middle of an ice storm. Funny thing is when they want to be your friend there's no escaping. The girl cat has me wrapped around her little paws and not only do I not like cats, I am allergic to them! She now cuddles in my lap...I am a goner.

  6. Oh, I can just imagine poor Lucy... those Westies, no, they are NOT cat lovers! will have to find a home for them and soon!! No, I'm not a cat lover at all and all my sympathies are with the Westie!!!

  7. I am also allergic to cats...and I prefer to songbirds in my garden, so I have a rather tough heart about cats. Except for my neighbor's most excellent "mouser." My garden is full of stone terraces or what I am come to call mouse motels.

    I think Lucy may have to hire a lawyer to start the eviction process. The torte sounds lovely.Hope I can find the almond paste.

  8. I love the flavor of almond and this cake I am anxious to try. I like how simply it goes together and the texture looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Too bad about the kitties, they both look so sweet.

    Carolyn/A Southerner's Notebook

  9. The problem with living in a city is no cat wants to adopt you ;(
    They like gardens and things...


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