If I had to choose a breakfast cake, this would be it. If I had to choose a cake to eat an entire day, this would be it. My reasons are threefold: it is nutty and distinctly aromatic, it is moist and buttery and stays that way for long, and it fills you up and keeps you going.
There’s something about the smell of baked almond cake that both sates you and makes you work up an appetite. It really does make for a hearty meal! The ground almonds keep the cake moist, while imparting a nutty flavour to the cake that the almond essence enhances.
What’s more, this easy-to-bake cake will get leave your friends and guests in awe of you. No, it does do that to people! Only you will know that all it took was vigorous mixing with one wooden spoon, and lo and behold! It transformed into decadent pieces of moist rich almond cake.
Fruits and nuts make for a well-paired bite, and I urge you to try this cake with oranges or plums, or even apricot jam. Or at tea time, do away with tea. Sip peach juice while you gently savour your cake.
I adapted this cake from the book Baking, published by Starfire. I made this cake sometime before Christmas, and I thought the season warranted a Christmas tree-shaped pan. Once I poured my cake mixture in, I knew that the cake would turn out just right. I have a confession to make: I didn’t use chocolate to drizzle the cake as I was all out of chocolate, and I realised that I was out of chocolate once I had put my cake into the oven. I had a little chocolate syrup though, and I used that. I will bake another almond cake and top it off with chocolate soon. Then you’ll see how it looks with chocolate sitting on top, instead of a small portion chocolate syrup.
1 20.5 cm (8-inch) cake
- 225 g (8 oz) butter or margarine
- 225 g (8 oz) caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon almond essence
- 125 g (4 oz) self-raising flour
- 175 g (6 oz) ground almonds
- 50 g (2 oz) whole almonds, blanched
- 25 g (1 oz) plain dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 150ºC (300ºF). Lightly oil and line the base of a 20.5 cm (8-inch) standard round cake tin with parchment paper.
- Cream together the butter or margarine and sugar with a wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
- Whisk the eggs and essences together, and add to the fluffy mix. Mix well.
- Sift the flour, and add to the egg mixture. While continuously mixing it in, add in the ground almonds too until mixed well.
- Transfer the mixture into the prepared cake pan. Roughly chop the almonds and scatter them over the cake batter before sending it off into the oven.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until you see that it is golden and a skewer or butter knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Remove from tin and let it cool on a wire rack.
- Once the cake is cooled, melt the chocolate in a small bowl placed over hot water simmering away in a saucepan. Take it off the heat once it is smooth.
- Drizzle it over the cake and serve once the chocolate has set.
Storage: When stored in an air-tight container, this cake lasts for about 3-4 days.
Notes: Since this cake pairs well with fruits and jams, you could induce that into the cake and then pair it with fruit. Add a tablespoon or two of orange water, along with the zest of an orange for a fragrant citrus flavour. Remember to omit the vanilla essence. This almond cake tastes better when eaten the next day. You may want to warm your slice of cake before eating it — the rich nutty aroma is just so inviting!