for reasons too many to mention, i no longer have the opportunity to cook with BBC world service on in the background. nor do i have pleasure (and so often pleasure through pain) of the dulcet tones of LNL, as i calmly cream my butter and sugar. good thing too probably. its not necessarily a healthy pastime for a young girl. what this means however, is there is an intellectual void. sometimes its more like a gaping chasm into which, if im not careful, im liable to plummet. in order to avoid (albeit narrowly) this obstacle, i have started to obsess over the task at hand. an unprecedented attention to detail seems to be the fortuitous product of the survival instinct of my brain. an unlikely predicament for someone with acute attention deficit tendencies such as myself…after all, i didnt get asked to leave starlab because i was concentrating too hard. but i have, as always, by default, found a way to focus intently on the task before me. (with the obvious exception of the bit where, realising i had misplaced the base of my existing cake tin, i had to rush out to the understocked and underwhelming supermarket to purchase a lesser 22 inch cake tin…it works but not as well). what got my undivided attention in this particular instance, on this particular evening, was an almond cake. a very special cake on account of it not being at all cake like. because, i ask you, what child of the 21st century really wants to eat cake? but this is to cake what the friand is to the muffin, what the tartlet is to the tart, and what the cupcake is to all the posers in the world. its delicate, its mostly crisp with a soft base that cakens it but doesnt weigh things down. so i bring you an almond cake entitled tosca’s cake. which was given to a very special lady…from whence it was finally liberated by myself, with the help of a very sleepy spoon.
125g softened butter
90g cater sugar
90g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
2 eggs separated
125g flaked almonds
90g butter melted
1tbsp plain flour
preheat the oven to 180 degrees. butter and flour a 26cm springform cake tin. cream the butter and sugar together til soft and fluffy. beat in the egg yolks and then add the milk.
sift in the flour, cinnamon and salt and fold this together
whisk the egg whites til stiff peaks
fold whisked egg whites into the mix
pour into the tin. smooth it over. it wont look like a lot but that is a good thing. bake for 20-30 minutes until cake is just firm.
while the cake is in the oven make the glorious topping. mix almonds, butter and sugar in a small saucepan.
stir in flour and cream. stir this over a gentle heat until amalgamated.
when the cake is ready, it should be just firm to the touch. remove from the oven.
immediately bring the topping to the boil. pour this over the cake and spread in an even layer
bake this for 10-15mins – until the top is golden brown.
let cool in tin for 10 minutes until the top is crisp. then remove and serve.