Monday, 25 August 2014

Almond and cherry slices

Mr CC has been muttering of late that I don’t make his favourite sort of cakes.  The poor thing is practically malnourished due to my neglect! When I asked him what were his favourite sort of cakes he replied: anything that Mr Kipling makes.  Now don’t get me wrong; I am not (ok, I try not to be) a cake snob and will happily enjoy a Mr Kipling cake if there’s one on offer…but the thought of choosing one over a nice home baked treat is something I struggle with; if Mr CC heard my dramatic in-take of breath at his comment he didn’t let on. 

Mr CC mentioned, in particular, almond slices so I pondered how to take the essence of a Mr Kipling almond slice and pimp it up a bit.  I decided on adding a pastry base, chopped cherries and some thick white icing.  It then dawned on me that what I had actually created was the lovechild of a Mr Kipling almond slice and
bakewell tart…and it tasted as good as you’d expect!

If you’re pushed for time you can forget the pastry and simply bake the filling; the result will be a very pleasing almond sponge.  The cherries work so well with almond.  Whilst I still can’t manage half a glace cherry on top of a cake, chopped into small pieces I rather like the fruity –almost jammy - chewy little pop they bring to proceedings.  The cake will keep for days - anything with almonds seems to get better day after day as the nut oil is released.

This basic recipe has some alternative options available – omit the cherries and replace with fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries; you could also add a layer of jam between pastry and filling.

For the pastry:
175g plain flour
85g unsalted butter – straight from the fridge
30g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water

For the filling:
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
150g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
50g ground almonds
100g glace cherries, chopped quite small
1 tablespoon milk
A couple of handfuls of flaked almonds

For the icing:
100g icing sugar
Enough warm water to make a thick, glossy icing - add it a teaspoon at a time

Start by making the pastry: place the flour and butter in the food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs.

Add the sugar and blitz briefly.

While the machine is still running pour in the egg yolk and water.

Stop the processor when small clumps of pastry start to form.

Tip the clumps out onto a sheet of clingfilm and, using your hands, bring together into a ball of pastry.

If you wish to make the pastry by hand rub the butter into the flour until you have crumbs.  Stir in the sugar, egg and water and, bring together to a ball of dough.

Roll the pastry out between two sheets of clingfilm – this saves having to add any extra flour and changing the make up of the pastry.

Line a 30cm x 20cm traybake tin with the pastry.  I like to use a disposable foil traybake tin as I find it easier to get the cooked traybake out! 

Use any spare pastry to patch the tin – it’s good natured and will patch easily.

Prick the base of the pastry with a fork.

Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for 1 hour. (Note that the pastry is rested after rolling – not before).

Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.

Cover the chilled pastry with non-stick foil or baking paper and weigh down with baking beans.

Bake for 10 minutes before removing the paper and beans and cooking for a further 10 minutes or until golden.

Put to one side to cool while you make the filling.

Now make the filling: beat together the butter and sugar until smooth and whippy.

Beat in the eggs.

Stir in the flour and baking powder.

Fold in the ground almonds and chopped cherries.

Stir in the milk to slacken the mixture.

Spoon into the pastry case and flatten well to ensure there are no air pockets.

Level the surface and scatter over the flaked almonds.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the almond sponge comes out clean.

Leave to cool, in the tin, on a wire rack.

When the cake is cool make the icing: add warm water, a teaspoon at a time, to the icing sugar and mix until you have a thick, white, glossy icing.

Use a spoon to drizzle over the almond sponge.

Leave to set.

Cut into generous finger-shaped slices – I got 18 fingers.

Eat on its own with a big cup of tea.

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



snowy said...

Have to admit to eating the occasional Mr Kipling cake, but these look delicious. I'm sure Mr CC was very happy.

Izzy said...

Great combination of bakewell tart and cake. I'm always impressed by the look of your pastry!

Kate@whatkatebaked said...

What a genius love child! I hope Mr CC was suitably impressed. (PS: sshhh, don't tell anyone but I'm partial to a Mr Kipling battenburg)

Gloria Baker said...

These bars look amazing CC!
Look delicious!

Cheri Savory Spoon said...

What a delicious looking dessert, love this combination. Your husband had to be very pleased.

Katie said...

These look delicious. Much better than Mr Kipling. I have a fondness for cherry and almond and these look great, love the pastry base. Bet they taste great with some custard too

Choclette said...

Any or all of those options does it for me. All I can say is Mr CC is a very lucky man and really shouldn't even compare thee to a Mr Kipling!

Cakelaw said...

Looks delish!

Sally Sellwood said...


My favourite kind of thing to eat.

Lucy said...

I love the flavours of cherry bakewell and happily there seem to be endless ways to combine them - this looks like a great way I haven't tried yet!

Stuart Vettese said...

I think I'd stick with the cherries - thanks for the recipe Mrs Kipling :D

Kate Glutenfreealchemist said...

I must be a cake snob too......... My memories of Mr Kipling are that they were pretty naff, processed and quite artificial in flavour and presentation..... These are a million times better. Mr CC needs to appreciate your talents a little bit more me thinks!!!!

Millymollymandy said...

hahaha! I grew up with Mr Kipling cakes and adore Cherry Bakewells, guess what I buy when I visit England (I live in France)?! Used to love Almond Slices too. I make my own cakes and of course they are superior ;-) but it's just that occasional Mr K's are a hark back to childhood and 70s convenience food (like Vesta chow mein!!). If I lived in England no way would I be buying Mr K's cakes, lol! So I will be having a bash at this recipe as it sounds great. And my hubby will be very happy as he's the same as me about Cherry Bakewells. I might have to put a whole glace cherry on top though, especially for him. :-)

Maggie said...

In my house we are proud to eat Mr Kipling cakes especially the fruit pies and cherry bakewells -yum. Lovely bake, I just made cherry and almond cake and my cherries sank!

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Hope Mr CC was pleased! This looks really good, perhaps you should market the idea to Mr Kipling! said...


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Jo said...

I would definitely take a piece of this over a mr kipling any day! You're making me crave an almondy bake. It's been a while since I've had one.

Anne Szadorska said...

Everything is so right about this recipe! I would happily bakewell's love child :-D