Monday, 3 September 2007

Almond Cake

In terms of the greatness of reward for the minimum of effort, this cake has to top the list. This is a light crumbly sponge unashamedly packed with almond-y goodness from the aroma and delicious moistness to the lovely flaked almonds on top providing a crunchy contrast. Potentially a dangerous cake; it’s the sort of cake you could eat and eat and eat and then wonder why you felt a bit overfull (of course you will blame it on the muesli you had for breakfast for it could not be this delightful sponge which has done you wrong).

How could anyone not want a slice of this?

It is such a thing of beauty that I had to stop, mid forkful and take a photo:

225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
Almond extract (whatever makes you happy – I tend to like a lot – 3 teaspoons or so)
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
50g ground almonds
25g flaked almonds (or more if you fancy)

How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 160°C/140°C fan oven/325°F/Gas Mark 3

- Grease and line (I use greaseproof paper or ready made cake tin liners – these are brilliant time savers as you needn’t grease the tin) a 20cm cake tin. That’s 8” for those of you over 40. Loose bottom is good, springform is even better.

- Cream together the butter and sugar. You can do this by hand but why would you when there are kitchen mixers? Do not skimp on this stage – I believe this is the most important stage of cake making. Spend some time ensuring that the mix is creamy, pale and smooth.

- Beat in the eggs one at a time. Towards the end the mix may curdle a bit; if this shames you, you can add some of the flour to stop it but there’s really no need.

- Beat in the almond extract.

- Fold in the flour and baking powder – remember, a metal spoon always gives the best results.

- Fold in the ground almonds. Make sure they are well distributed in the mix.

- Spoon into the cake tin and level off.

- Sprinkle the flaked almonds on top.

- Bake for approx 1 ½ hours or until a skewer comes out clean.

- Cool on a wire tray. I let it cool in the tin before turning out.

- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.

- Eat.


Unknown said...

Your cakes all look so light! What is your secret? Is it the long creaming of butter and sugar or something else?

The Caked Crusader said...

Aw thanks bina - I'm blushing!
I think the creaming of the butter and the sugar is key, but I think the main thing is not to rush. So many recipes and cooks seem about making things as quickly as possible, I say relax and enjoy the making - see it as fun rather than something to rush through to get the product!