All Bow To Tara, The New Amateur Gourmet Champ

They said it couldn’t be done; that an Amateur Gourmet reader could never oust the man himself from his throne. That no one would have the gumption, the tenacity, the digital camera; or the chutzpah to attempt this in the process:

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And yet along she came. Her name is Tara. This is her story.

Martha Stewart is a sick, sick woman…

…but nonetheless, I’ve created her thoroughly insane Pine Cone Cake and lived to tell the tale. My friend Sally, always the good sport, agreed to document the proceedings.

So, we started out by toasting the almonds that would eventually go into the cake itself:

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Exhausted from that prodigious effort, we sat down to watch Revenge Of The Nerds instead. Whew!

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Our strength renewed, I ground the almonds along with the sugar and combined that mixture with flour.

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I melted the butter and added rum and vanilla…

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…and folded it all together with whipped egg whites.

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After baking and cooking the cake, I cut the individual cakes out of the whole with a cookie cutter.

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Martha says to “discard” the scraps. Like, whatever.

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After heaping the frosting on these puppies (the recipe calls for 1/3 cup on each!), the real work begins.

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Martha, I hate you.

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Voila! See that vague half-smile? That would be one of dazed exhaustion and smug victory.

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Let’s get a closer look, shall we?

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The cake itself is quite delicious; the almond and the rum complement each other nicely and nothing is too overpowering. I may make the actual cake part again, in fact, minus all that frosting, which fights with the flavor of the cake. The decoration? Yeah, I’ll skip that next time. -TARA

Note from the Amateur Gourmet: I have to say, this is thoroughly impressive. To those sports enthusiasts out there: what happens now? Should someone challenge Tara for the title? I’m open to suggestions.

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