|Lovely cake for tea with a river of compote running through it. I’m sorry for the conifer in the background. Legacy of previous tenants. I hate conifers. It’s got to go.|
I really was going to write about something non-food related. But if I’m going to write about, say, a washing machine, I really feel I have to do my research. And frankly, at the moment, I just can’t be bothered. Whereas with food, well you don’t really need to do much work, do you? You just say yum yum yum, I like this, you try it too.
Plus it’s cold and blowy and I want to write about cake and plus x2 we are in the fortunate position of having lots of eggs at the moment as each of our chickens is laying one a day. So I wanted to use some up. So this morning I made ice cream (four eggs yolks, the whites into the fridge for friands or madeleines another day), and then I thought “I really fancy a nice cake for tea”. The criteria being that it couldn’t be chocolate and it had to be made from things I already had in.
And I do have a lot in since I am a pig and an ingredient hoarder and I don’t like to run out of things.
I couldn’t be bothered to go through the 75 recipe books we have, or the vast amount of ripped out magazine recipes. So I did what I always do when in a tizz. I turned to Waitrose.
I actually typed in “cake” to see what it would bring up, and this Almond and Cherry cake came up and I checked and I had everything – save for the jam it asks for, I substituted compote instead. It’s so easy to make – chuck everything into a mixing bowl and get the food mixer to even whisk it up for you (sorry if you’re reading this Helena, I know you haven’t got your mixer situ. sorted yet…).
150g self raising flour
100g ground almonds
175g softened butter – you’ll be lucky if at this time of year yours is soft enough at room temp, so stuff it in the microwave on low for 1-2 mins
150g caster sugar
2 medium eggs, preferably from your own chickens of course, failing that from the fridge
Few drops of almond essence, I use Amaretto di Saronno Lazzaroni from Bakery Bits, I find it vastly superior to anything else you can buy. When I say a few drops, I probably put in about 8-10 but it’s difficult to tell since they come out in a rush.
4tbsps of milk, any milk you have in the fridge that’s from a cow preferably.
150g fruity jammy stuff (the original recipe uses that St Dalfour no sugar one, I used Bonne Maman compote, sort of drained, and it was delicious. I wouldn’t personally use jam jam as it’d be too sweet I think)
handful of flaked almonds
You need a 900g loaf tin. Which brings me onto a slight rant which is, why do loaf tins never ever have their capacity on them? Anyway, I use a small, stout loaf tin and line it with parchment loaf liner; just cut some out of baking parchment sheets if you don’t have them pre-formed.
Preheat oven to 160C. I warn you, this cake is so quick, do this the moment you feel like making this cake. You put all the ingredients EXCEPT FOR THE FRUITY JAMMY STUFF AND THE FLAKED ALMONDS, in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 1-2 mins. Pour half the mixture into the loaf tin. Stop. Now put the fruity, jammy stuff or compote in, like a layer. Now pour in the rest of the cakey mixture. Now get a skewer and gently swirl around. Scatter the flaked almonds on top and put in oven for 1hr – ish. Mine was done after one hour, go a bit longer if you need to. Cake should be firm and when you put in a cake tester/raw piece of spaghetti it shouldn’t come out all gooey.
Let it cool in the tin as this is a moist cake. I wasn’t expecting too much, but this is a really lovely cake. Moisty, almondy, bit Bakewell-ish. Perfect with tea. Shame I’ve already had a slice in the name of research.
UPDATE: You can also make this into individual cakes by putting the mixture into muffin cases. I got eleven out of the mixture. They took about 20-25 mins cooking time (sorry I got distracted and forgot to make a note of it) at the same temperature. This makes them ideal for picnics.