Sunday, 30 June 2013

Cherry almond sponge cake

I do love a good sponge; it has always been a weakness of mine.  This week I decided to keep it really simple – a lovely sponge with thick white icing.  Given it’s turned out to be the hottest weekend of the year so far, it was a good choice – definitely not the time to be making delicate buttercreams!

I toyed with calling this a bakewell sponge, but it is more bakewell influenced in that it borrows the idea of almond, cherry and icing.  There is something about adding almond to a sponge that elevates it to a higher level of delight – particularly the day after baking when all the nutty richness has been released.

I have finally realised – embarrassingly late, perhaps – how much better hot water is than cold when making a white icing/glaze.  Not sure why, but my thought would be that the hot water (I used boiled, straight from the kettle) melts the sugar on impact giving a smoother finish, and then sets quicker.  Am I imagining it, or do you agree?

This recipe is similar (but not identical) to a previous bakewell sandwich cake that I made.  In that recipe I made the cake in two sandwich tins and used jam and icing.


For the cake:
265g unsalted butter, at room temperature
265g caster sugar
4 eggs
265 self raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
35g ground almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
5 tablespoons soured cream

For the icing:
200g icing sugar
2-3 tablespoons hot water, or enough to make a thick, but pourable, icing

To decorate: glace cherries


Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan oven 160°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm square pan with baking paper.  If you prefer, you could use a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin but you will get a ‘flatter’ sponge.

Beat together the butter and sugar until pale, light and whippy.  It should look almost like whipped cream.

Beat in the eggs one at a time.  If the mixture looks like it might curdle beat in some of the flour.

Stir in the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, soured cream and almond extract.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly.  Start checking the cake for ‘done-ness’ after 40 minutes.  NB, if you are using the shallower traybake tin only bake for approximately 30 minutes before checking.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin; the cake will settle a little.

Remove from the tin and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the icing: beat together the icing sugar and water until you have a thick but pourable glaze.  Always add the water gradually – it’s easy to add more, but harder to correct a too runny consistency.

Pour the glaze over the cake and leave to set.

Before fully set decorate the top of the cake with glace cherries.  I chose to leave them whole so they stood proud from the icing.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.



Lucy said...

This cake looks so good - I wish I had some glace cherries in the house so I could make it straight away! I love the thick layer of icing too, I haven't thought of using hot water to make it before but I definitely will next time.

Baking Addict said...

I love a good sponge too and the icing dripping down the sides is irresistible! I've never tried making icing with hot water but will have to try it now.

Jo said...

Yum! Simple bakes are always the best and I absolutely love almond sponges. My mum also taught me the trick about using hot water with icing sugar, it's a handy tip!

P.S. My dino socks came from Topshop :)

Lisa Mary said...

I totally agree. I have always made icing with boiled water - which is something my mother taught me too. Love your sponge and it looks great against the b&w plate!

Cakelaw said...

This looks delish! I have always used hot water for simple icing because Mum did.

Gloria Baker said...

This look amazing dear!!
My type of cake!

Katie said...

You can't beat a nice almond cake, sometimes simpleis the way to go.

Jean said...

Now this is exactly my kind of cake. Anything bakewellesque is right up my street and I love the cherries on top. It looks delicious.
I don't think I knew the tip about hot water. I don't make that kind of icing very often but it could explain a few of the slightly disappointing effects in the past. Thanks for the tip, I will remember it.

Hettie said...

Mmmmn! I am almost licking the screen, but I am in work and that would not look good!
Want some NOW!!

Kezia said...

Yum! You can't beat a sponge cake. Thanks for the hot water trick - I'll use it next time I make icing:)

Pippi said...

Oh che buona che deve essere!!

Maggie said...

I always like anything with a Bakewell Tart influence to it. Loving the icing dripping over the edges...

Miss C Flash said...

Your cake looks delicious. Anything with cherry and almond (like bakewell) reminds me of my school puddings. I took a trip down memory lane when I saw your cake :- )x

Hettie said...

Wish me luck as I am making this tonight!

Hettie said...

The cake is a hit!! We all love it including my Buddy and the dog!

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi Hettie

Hoorah! I'm so pleased. Dogs always know good baking!

Happy baking!

Anonymous said...

This cake looks really yummy !
The combination of cherry and almond is perfect

Nickki said...

That looks scrumptious! I wish I could just reach out and grab a slice!

Kris said...

I just made this and it was delicious! My whole family loved it. Thank you for sharing!