Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Go-With-Anything Cake

This is a seriously delicious cake from my friend Ms Gin

3 medium eggs
160g ground almonds
150g golden caster sugar
Zest and juice of 1/2 an unwaxed/orqanic lemon
(or the zest of 1/2 small unwaxed/organic orange, plus 1 1/2 tbsp juice)
'/4-'/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Separate the eggs: whites in one big mixing bowl, yolks in another.

With a wooden spoon, beat the yolks, gradually adding 130g of the sugar, until pale and creamy. Fold in the ground almonds, zest, juice and cinnamon to make a stiff paste. Using an electric whisk, whisk the whites until they form soft peaks, then gradually beat in the remaining sugar. Keep whisking until the mixture is glossy and the peaks are stiff when you remove the whisk.

Stir one-third of the whisked whites into the almond mixture to loosen it slightly, then, using a metal spoon, carefully fold in the remaining mixture, in two batches. Be gentle, or you'll lose all the air you've whisked in and that would be a pity.

Butter a 17.5cm round pie tin; then cut a piece of greaseproof paper to fit the bottom and put that in. Transfer the mixture to the tin and bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes. Provided you switched on the oven to the right temperature and gave it time to heat up beforehand, the cake should be done; a bit of squidge one way or the other doesn't really matter. It should be lightly risen, with a chewy crust, but still quite soft inside. It will be a darker brown around the edge than in the middle — but ovens vary, so if you're worried it might burn, you could always cover it with foil for the last five minutes.

Leave it to cool a little (it might sink or crack slightly, but don't worry — just call it rustic charm), then turn it out, remove the greaseproof circle and flip it onto a plate so that the brown side faces upwards. Sieve some icing sugar over the top and serve while still slightly warm.


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