1 pound unsalted! butter
2 cups white sugar (granulated or castor/superfine)
2.5 t pure vanilla extract
1 t almond extract OR preferably 2-3 t Amaretto liqueur (to taste – not overpowering)
1/2 C milk
2 C flour
1/4 t salt
1 – 1.5 C medium-fine chopped whole almonds
1.5 C whole, fresh cranberries (frozen is OK!)
Prepare a loaf pan (greased and floured) and fill to the top with the batter. There will probably be a little more than will fit, so you can either use two equally filled loaf pans (not quite to the top of either), or put the remainder in a smaller loaf/cake pan.
Bake at 325-330 F for 30-40 min, or until the top is lightly browned and cracked, and a skewer, when inserted, comes out clean.
I recommend using Di Saronno. It is by far the best amaretto liqueur out there, and is imported from Italy. It is also delicious served on the rocks or even neat.
Using whole almonds is better than using the peeled, slivered kind, as the skin gives better colour, flavour and texture to the nuts and in turn the whole cake.
I like to bake with superfine or baker’s sugar which is a granulated sugar that is much finer than regular white granulated sugar. It dissolves quite readily in butter and makes a smoother batter with fewer inconsistencies in the texture.
I like the cranberries to be whole instead of halved or chopped because I like the extra juiciness biting into a whole cranberry gives, and it doesn’t discolour the batter as much, so you get a nice light yellow batter with brown flecks from the almonds and large round dots from the cranberries. It really makes a nice contrast in flavour, colour and texture when you don’t chop the berries. I usually just throw in a whole (12 ounce) bag of FRESH cranberries which I keep in the freezer at all times. They’re really nice in cakes, muffins, for making cranberry sauce etc. They keep for a very long time too.
You might also add in some sliced fresh oranges and orange zest for a tasty variation. You can easily adapt the base ingredients of sugar, butter, flour, eggs and milk and make any type of pound cake you like: lemon raspberry, apple walnut, etc.