As summer beckons, it brings with it the desire to eat more healthily. But that doesn't mean we can't all enjoy a sweet treat from time to time! These mini chocolate chip cookies are gluten free and dairy free and perfect for the job :)Read More
A healthy cake alternative, completely gluten free and made with delicious almonds and flavoured with orange blossom honey and chamomile tea. The perfect accompaniment for afternoon tea!Read More
This beautiful brunch loaf is packed with flavour and best of all, gluten free. Full of delicious olives, sundried tomatoes, cheddar cheese and sweet potato, it's a welcome addition to any lunch or brunch table :)Read More
I didn't need much of an excuse to whip up a batch of cupcakes. Then I found out it was National Cupcake Week and it was just like kizmet!! Hello, Nutella and Almond Cupcakes with Whipped Chocolate Cream Frosting :) Where have you been all my life?!Read More
Clinging to the summer days of warm winds and the beautiful sunshine of our holidays, these mini cherry clafoutis are perfectly delicious. Light, almondy and studded with rich red cherries - the perfect treat!Read More
I have a lot of cookery books. And when I say a lot, I mean a lot. They are currently all balanced in precarious piles over our guest room floor. I'm in the planning stages of a little office space (and am unbelievably excited about it) but that's a small while away so for the moment we're sticking with the tottering book piles! But not long ago I was dismantling one of these piles to get to a book (always at the bottom, right?) and started reading an old Fiona Cairn's book, Bake & Decorate.
I love her preface where she talks about empowering all sorts of different people to try their hand at baking and creating lots of memories and aromas of cake making throughout our homes. It's so true (at least for me). My boys are finally taking an interest in cooking and baking and I'd love for them to start building a love for this in their childhoods.
So when thumbing through this wonderful baking book, I found a recipe for Pistachio and Orange Blossom Cake. I absolutely LOVE pistachio and the idea of pairing this with lovely fresh springtime orange blossom was too tempting.
This is a simple looking cake. It doesn't have layers so is presented as an un-split cake with a layer of mascarpone cream on the top. It doesn't pretend to be something it's not and would look perfectly in place on a tea table or with a cup of coffee one morning. However what it does do is pack a punch with its flavours. In the cake we have pistachio, almond, orange zest and orange blossom; whilst in the topping we have mascarpone, orange zest, vanilla and orange blossom. And if that's not enough, there is a delicious syrup made from orange juice, sugar and orange blossom that soaks the cake. So you can see - it's definitely not lacking in taste!
The first part of making this cake is roasting the pistachios - and then blitzing them to a powder. The butter, sugar and orange zest are creamed in a standing mixer whilst the dry ingredients are sieved into a separate bowl. When the butter and sugar are fully creamed, the eggs are added one at a time - if it starts to curdle, then a tablespoon of the flour mixture should be added. Then the pistachios and almonds are folded in with the dry ingredients and finally the orange blossom water. Simple.
Whilst the cake is baking in the oven, the syrup is made. This is a simple combination of freshly squeezed orange juice, sugar and orange blossom water in a saucepan, brought to a rolling boil. It needs to simmer until you have around 60ml of liquid (this is 4 tablespoons to give you an idea of how much you need). It takes around 10-15 minutes but you need to keep an eye on it as there's a tipping point when it becomes a sticky marmalade!
Once the cake's out of the oven, then the cake should be pricked all over and soaked with the orange syrup - and allowed to cool in its tin. When it's ready to come out and completely cooled down, then it can be frosted. The topping is made from the mascarpone, orange zest, vanilla, orange flower water and sugar and can be hand-whipped in a bowl. Then spread on top of the cake with a palette knife.
So I love the texture of the cake. The nuts are delicious and the mix of pistachios and almonds are really stunning in this cake whilst at the same time being very moist. With the topping being made of mascarpone, it feels a lot lighter than traditional buttercream - more like the texture of whipped cream which is so yummy. There is a light green hue to the inside of the cake itself (from the pistachio) which I love contrasted with the flecks of orange in the frosting. I thought the flavours might be a little grown-up for my boys, but after three helpings, I think I can be assured it's a popular choice :)
This is a lovely light cake and would be perfect for afternoon tea or a coffee morning. It definitely heralds in the start of springtime and sunnier days 🌞
Pistachio and Orange Blossom Cake
from Fiona Cairn's Bake & Decorate
- 175G UNSALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED
- 100G SHELLED UNSALTED PISTACHIOS
- 70G SELF-RAISING FLOUR
- 1 TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- PINCH OF SALT
- 200G GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- ZEST OF 1 ORANGE
- 4 EGGS, LIGHTLY BEATEN
- 70G GROUND ALMONDS
- 2 TSP ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER
- JUICE OF 1 ORANGE
- 45G GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- 1 TBSP ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER
- 250G MASCARPONE
- ZEST OF 1 ORANGE
- 1/2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 1 TBSP ORANGE BLOSSOM WATER
- 30G GOLDEN CASTER SUGAR
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- To make the Cake, grease and line a 7 inch cake tin (if you don't have this size, you can use a different sized tin by adjusting the cooking time)
- Spread the pistachios in an even layer on a baking tray and place in the oven for around 5 minutes - they can burn quite easily so give the tray a little shake half-way through cooking and keep watching them
- Let them cool down and then blitz in a food processor until finely ground
- Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl
- Place the butter, sugar and orange zest in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy
- Add the eggs little by little, beating after each addition - if the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of the flour mixture
- Then fold in the pistachios and almonds, flour mixture and finally the orange blossom water
- Place in the baking tin and smooth over the surface
- Bake for around 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Whilst the cake is baking, make the Orange Syrup
- Place the orange juice, sugar and orange blossom water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil
- Simmer for around 10-15 minutes until there is 60ml liquid remaining in the pan
- When the cake is out of the oven, immediately prick it all over with a toothpick and then pour the syrup evenly across the surface
- Allow the cake to cool completely in its tin
- When it's cool, turn it out onto a plate and make the Frosting
- Place the mascarpone, orange zest, vanilla, orange blossom water and sugar in a bowl and beat until smooth
- Spread this on the top of the cake with a palette knife
- Adorn with flowers or serve just as it is :)
Delicious almondy goodness shines through in these tasty little Almond Cookies with just a hint of Orange Blossom. A twist on the traditional Greek Almond Cookie!Read More
My boys have always been huge fans of rice pudding. I have to confess it remains a guilty pleasure of mine, but these days I only get to clean out the tin after I've served up their desserts! Whilst we're away on half term and being blown around by the lovely south coast winds, it felt like a yummy warm homemade pud was just what we all needed and my youngest wanted to have a go at making this favourite.
Whilst rice pudding is not difficult to make (you just need some patience for the baking) and a great recipe for children to have a go at, we decided to add some flavours different to our usual tinned variety. I adapted one of Donna Hay's recipes and we made Almond and Vanilla Rice Pudding, baked in the oven and served with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup.
I've used cup measurements here as I think when baking with children (especially young ones) it's easier to measure the ingredients with cups when learning to bake, before they move on to scales and weights.
We used arborio rice and whilst this would usually be enjoyed as a risotto, it gave a nice puddingy consistency to the final dessert. Instead of using cow's milk, we decided to use a carton of unsweetened almond milk instead and this added a really lovely nutty flavour - together with the seeds of a vanilla pod and the vanilla pod itself which was baked with the pud before being removed at the end. We also added sugar as I was following a lead from the original recipe but I think next time, I'd be inclined to leave this out and just sweeten with the maple syrup at the final serving.
The baking of the pudding took a lot longer than I thought (probably around 45 minutes) so I suggest leaving plenty of time for the rice to absorb the almond milk - I kept an eye on it for the last 45 minutes and although it was more fluid than the tinned variety, we actually preferred it this way.
The boys LOVED it and I'd definitely make it again for them - it's the kind of wonderful, warming bake that you can throw together in minutes and leave in the oven to slowly develop its loveliness.
The perfect winter warmer for half term :)
Baked Vanilla and Almond Rice Pudding
- ½ CUP ARBORIO RICE
- 1 LITRE OF UNSWEETENED ALMOND MILK
- ½ CUP CASTER SUGAR (to taste)
- 1 VANILLA POD (seeds scraped from this but also the pod itself)
- Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees (fan)
- Scatter the arborio rice over the base of a 2 litre capacity dish
- Stir together the milk, caster sugar (if you choose to use this) and vanilla seeds and pour over the rice
- Add the vanilla pod
- Cover with tin foil and bake in the oven for an hour
- After an hour, remove the foil and bake for a further 30 to 60 minutes, checking after 30 minutes to see how much of the milk has been absorbed
- When you're happy with the consistency, remove from the oven and remove the vanilla pod
- Serve warm with a healthy drizzle of maple syrup - and if you like, an unhealthy dollop of cream: )
I know it's not Easter. It should, in fact, be summer but you could be mistaken for thinking it was autumn going into winter most days here in London right now. So back to Easter. Or rather not being Easter, but these lovely little buns that are traditionally served at Easter in Sweden should be served all year around. Doesn't the name sounds romantic "Bollos de Pascua suecos"? Much nicer than "Swedish Easter Buns"!
I hadn't tried these before, but saw a photo on Pinterest that stayed somewhere in the back of my mind for a day such as this one. When we were recently in Canada, out in the Algonquin National Park, we made many visits to our favourite bakery, Henrietta's Bakery, where they had lots of traditional buns filled with jam and cream, fresh cakes and pies and somewhere amongst all of this I was reminded of these little buns. Incidentally, if you ever find yourself in the Algonquin National Park with a craving for something sweet, I thoroughly recommend a visit to that lovely bakery for their amazing sticky buns :)
But back to my Semlor buns which are in essence bread flavoured with cardamom. The cardamom is freshly ground so it has a really vibrant flavour and smell. I'm not a huge cardamom fan (especially if you find me accidentally chewing on one in my pilau rice) but the 1 teaspoon in these buns is not too overbearing and adds a rather pleasant flavour.
Once they are baked and cooled, it's time for their little hats to come off. Then a small amount of the insides are scooped out ready to be mixed with almond paste and then layered back inside the bun. I made my own almond paste which meant I could make it to my desired consistency and as sweet as I liked it. This is then topped with a generous swirl of the most delicious mascarpone cream mixed with vanilla paste, icing sugar, milk and cream. Its little hat goes back on top and then it's dusted with icing sugar. There. Easy, right?
There are a few different sources that inspired these which found me translating Swedish recipes (and as such missing important stages!) but my recipe was in the main adapted from Swedish Food and Mercaditas Bakery. These buns do have a few different stages but it's totally worth the effort. The freshly ground spice really does give this a lift and transforms it from just a bread bun whilst pairing really well with the almond and mascarpone cream.
They're lovely enjoyed with a cup of coffee - but in my world it's always a hot chocolate :)
Semlor "Bollos De Pascua Suecos"
- 75G BUTTER
- 300ML MILK
- 10G FAST ACTION DRIED YEAST
- ½ TSP SALT
- 55G SUGAR
- 1 TSP FRESHLY GROUND CARDAMOM
- 500G PLAIN FLOUR
- 1 EGG
Almond Paste Ingredients
- 125g GROUND ALMONDS
- 60ML MILK
- ICING SUGAR TO TASTE
Mascarpone Cream Ingredients
- 250G REFRIGERATED MASCARPONE
- 120ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 60G ICING SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA PASTE
- Melt the butter in a saucepan
- Add the milk and heat until it's lukewarm and mixed well
- Add the yeast and mix until it's all dissolved
- Put the salt, sugar, cardamom and flour in a mixer and make a well in the centre
- Add the buttery milk mixture and egg and then mix for 5 mins with the dough hook (or alternatively knead it by hand)
- The mixture should be sticky but not stick to your hands when it's ready
- Place in an oiled bowl covered loosely with clingfilm and leave to prove for a half hour
- Gently turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth
- Divide the dough into equal balls (I wanted 8 so just calculated what each ball needed to weigh and used the weighing scales to make sure they were all even sized at around 95g)
- Put the dough balls onto 2 baking sheets lined with baking paper, cover with a tea towel and leave for another 40 mins
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees (fan)
- Bake for 25 mins until the tops are browned and then allow to cool
- If you're not filling the buns immediately, store them in an airtight container as they tend to dry out quickly
- Make the almond paste by mixing all the ingredients together - the icing sugar is at your discretion until the paste is sweet enough for you, but as a guide, I added 3 tablespoons
- Cut a small hat off the top of each bun and place aside
- Then scoop out a little of the bread from inside each bun and add this into the almond paste, then mix together
- At this stage, I added a little more milk until I had a creamy paste
- Divide the paste between each of the buns
- Then beat the mascarpone, icing sugar and vanilla paste until mixed together
- Add the whipping cream and beat on high until it holds its shape and forms stiff peaks
- Using a star nozzle, pipe the cream onto each bun
- Then replace their hats
- Sprinkle liberally with icing sugar!
I am in SERIOUS ice cream heaven! I have just made the most deliciously yummy Mascarpone Ice Cream marbled with homemade salted caramel and filled with sugared almonds. I can't take all the credit though, as this recipe came from a wonderful blog I stumbled upon the other day from Sarah at Broma Bakery. There are so many lovely recipes on her blog all beautifully photographed and I have a list of her other recipes that I can't wait to try!
But back to this no churn, silky smooth Mascarpone Ice Cream. Yes, that's right - no churn. Which means you don't need any fancy equipment to make this apart from a vessel (ideally a loaf tin) in which to freeze your ice cream.
Sarah uses her favourite brand of Lush Gourmet Almonds, but since I didn't have access to these, I made my own sugared almonds that I chopped roughly and added in place of her suggestion. The only challenge I had with making these was trying not to eat them all before they went into the ice cream! They're lovely and sweet with a great crunch.
The ice cream is simple to make but you need to cast a blind eye to the calories of this one with whipping cream, mascarpone and condensed milk - and that's before we come on to the homemade caramel sauce! It is made simply by whipping the whipping cream and then folding in the other ice cream ingredients before adding almonds. There are very specific instructions for adding the caramel - I would have been inclined to swirl it through the base but followed the recipe and it worked out well so can only suggest you do the same when making this. Then the finished ice cream needs to freeze overnight.
This ice cream is rich and creamy and would taste good without the salted caramel and almonds but I like the caramel ribbons and the nuts give an additional crunchy texture which pairs well with the caramel. I think it's quite a grown-up ice cream (which is no bad thing in our house otherwise it would disppear in a matter of seconds!) and I can't wait to see how this will work with other flavour combinations :)
Mascarpone Ice Cream With Salted Caramel & Sugared Almonds (from Broma Bakery)
Sugared Almonds Ingredients
- 100G ALMONDS
- 70G ICING SUGAR
- 2 TBSP WATER
Ice Cream Ingredients
- 570ML WHIPPING CREAM
- 225G MASCARPONE
- 395G SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
- 1 TBSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- ½ TSP SALT
Homemade Salted Caramel Sauce
- 100G (½ CUP) SUGAR
- 40G BUTTER
- 60ML (¼ CUP) WHIPPING CREAM
- 1½ TSP SALT
Sugared Almonds Method
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat
- Stir constantly until all the almonds are covered with the icing sugar
- Remove them when they are a sticky white and spread them out on a layer of greaseproof paper to cool
- Roughly chop the almonds
Homemade Caramel Sauce Method
- Place the sugar in a saucepan and heat on a medium heat for around 5 minutes
- Stir the sugar occasionally to ensure that it all melts, but just enough to remove the lumps, and until it turns a dark amber colour
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, taking care as it will start to bubble, until they are mixed together completely (around 1 - 2 minutes)
- Pour in the whipping cream and salt and mix until it's all thoroughly combined
- Place back on the heat for 30 seconds, stirring all the time
- Remove from the heat and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes
Ice Cream Method
- Prepare your loaf tin with greaseproof paper
- Put the whipping cream into a bowl and whip until soft peaks form
- Fold in the mascarpone, condensed milk, vanilla extract and salt and beat until stiff peaks form
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of almonds and fold the rest into the ice cream mixture
- Spoon half of the caramel over the top of the ice cream without stirring it through and then pour half of the ice cream into the prepared loaf tin
- Pour the rest of the caramel over the remaining ice cream and then pour this final half into the loaf tin
- Swirl the caramel very gently with a skewer
- Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the ice cream
- Freeze overnight and allow to soften slightly before serving
Deliciously indulgent gateau with almond cake, dulce de leche, caramelized banana, chocolate mousse and ganache | recipe from Will Torrent's Patisserie At Home | www.serendipitybakes.co.ukRead More
Hurray, it's Friday! We've had 7 days back at school and now have a bank holiday to look forward :) Cue sunshine (wishful thinking?) and the seaside. Double hurray! It's been a busy cake week but I wanted a little treat to welcome us into the long weekend.
I love raspberries. I love friands. And now I love raspberry friands. These gorgeous little cakes are dainty, yummy and with quite a dense texture, rather filling too. They are best served warm and straight from the oven but are still delicious several hours later. Um, I'm hoping there might actually be some left by the time the boys get home from school...
These are very simple to make and can be made with different types of fruit which will be a project for the future. I had some amazing friands from a small bakery in New Zealand at Christmas which were filled with delicious lemon curd. They were my absolute favourite. These raspberry ones are very simple where the almond taste really shines through and then the raspberry gives it a lift. All they need is gentle folding through of the ingredients (making the effort to sift the icing sugar and flour) and well greased friand tins (otherwise you may find that they break up when you try to remove them from the tins).
These are perfect for a lunch in the sun or afternoon tea. Go on, give them a go and treat yourself this bank holiday :)
Raspberry Friands (makes 9 friands)
- 200G LIQUID EGG WHITES (or 5 egg whites if you want to crack open your eggs)
- 150G MELTED BUTTER
- 90G GROUND ALMONDS
- 185G SIFTED ICING SUGAR
- 50G SIFTED PLAIN FLOUR
- 125G RASPBERRIES (you need 18 raspberries with 2 on each friand)
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan)
- Grease a friand tin - you need to grease these well getting into all the nooks and crannies to make sure that your friands don't stick - you will need to grease 9 holes
- Whip the egg whites for a few seconds just to mix them up
- Then add the rest of the ingredients (except the raspberries) - the butter, ground almonds, icing sugar and flour
- Mix on the lowest setting until just combined
- Pour into the friand tin, filling each hole until it's 2/3 full
- Then pop 2 raspberries on the top of each friand
- Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean
- Loosen the friands in their tin and then tip them out gently onto a cooling rack
- Serve warm (ideally) and sprinkled with icing sugar
- Try not to eat them all before your guests arrive!
Although it's technically springtime and we've seen some signs of sunshine in recent days, today it's grey and windy here in south-west London and we need to bring a little bit of sunshine into our home! A couple of friends recommended I try Nigella's Lemon Polenta Cake - although to date on the blog I've been keen to work through different bakers (and have already featured a Nigella recipe) but am making an exception here as both waxed lyrical about this one. And then yesterday Nigella posted a Regram of this very same cake but suggesting that the butter could be replaced with olive oil to make a completely gluten-free and dairy-free which sealed the fate of this bake and here it is.
It's a very light cake and the real magic is the infusion of lemon syrup which soaks into the cake post-baking. The original recipe I looked at contained 200g butter, but as I mentioned, Nigella yesterday posted on Instagram suggesting that this could be replaced with 150ml light olive oil so I thought I'd make this switch. Although Nigella suggests baking for 40 mins, I checked mine after 35 mins and it was very much done by then so I'd keep an eye on it from 30 mins onwards.
I also read a few comments from people that their cake tended to drop in the middle when it comes out of the oven and this is to be expected due to the lack of gluten. However I found that mine didn't drop and kept good form - until I decided that I couldn't wait for it to be completely cool before removing it from the tin and then I put it on a non-flat plate and it did drop a little! But I can assure you it didn't affect the taste :) I love the yellow sun-shine colour of the inside and it's super-moist from all of the lemon syrup, but remains lovely and light, whilst the polenta adds a slight grittiness which gives it some added texture. This would be a great cake for afternoon tea or lunch with friends.
Lemon Polenta Cake
- 150ML LIGHT OLIVE OIL (YOU CAN USE 200G UNSALTED BUTTER AT ROOM TEMP IF YOU PREFER)
- 200G CASTER SUGAR
- 200G GROUND ALMONDS
- 100G POLENTA
- 1 ½ TSP BAKING POWDER (GLUTEN-FREE IF REQUIRED)
- 3 LARGE EGGS
- 2 LEMONS (ZEST FOR CAKE BATTER & JUICE FOR SYRUP)
- 125G ICING SUGAR
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees
- Line the base of an 8 inch spring form cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides with butter
- Put the olive oil and sugar into a mixer and beat together until light brown
- In a separate bowl, mix the almonds, polenta and baking powder
- Add a third of this to the mixer and beat until well-mixed then add 1 egg
- Repeat twice, ending with the final egg
- Add the lemon zest and beat until well-mixed
- Scrape the batter into the prepared baking tin
- Cook in the oven for around 35 mins until a skewer comes out clean-ish and the edges have shrunk away from the sides of the tin. My cake was well set when it came out of the oven but the middle may wobble slightly and that's okay. Leave the cake to cool on the side whilst you make the syrup
- Boil the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small saucepan until the icing sugar has dissolved
- Make little holes across the top of the cake with a cocktail stick and then pour the syrup all over the top - you may need to do this in bursts waiting for the syrup to sink in before you add more
- Leave to cool before taking it out of its tin. And enjoy!
The calm before the storm. The last week of spring term at school before four whole weeks with the boys. For our last few days of calm, it's been a pretty busy week with an open book day, easter school concert and our spring fair. As well as baking for the fair (this time experimenting with both regular cupcakes as well as gluten-free and dairy-free offerings), I went with a friend to do a Biscuiteer Beatrix Potter icing course - always great to learn a new skill, but I need a LOT more practice and my desire to make everything perfect meant I wasn't entirely satisfied with my finished biscuits! (I think we chose a very tricky icing course as our first attempt) You can see photos of my easter fair and biscuit decorating endeavours on facebook and instagram :)
So now as I sit writing this, I'm already in the storm of the school holidays and with several bakes planned for this week, I'm just wondering how I'm actually going to get time to get everything done! We have a new local bakery (a chain that's fast springing up across London) and as I went on my maiden voyage to the one which has opened two minutes from our house, I had a delightful little biscuit called a Mexican Wedding Cookie. I instantly knew I wanted to recreate this at home so set about looking into the tradition and recipe behind this little treat.
Mexican Wedding Cookies are also known amongst other names such as Russian Tea Cakes, Viennese Sugar Balls and Polvorones - but we're going to call them the name by which I discovered them, so called as they're often presented as favours at Mexican weddings. They're very simple to make and require only a handful of ingredients. It seems like everyone has their own recipe for these and all slightly different so I decided to mix them all up in the one below. They have a light velvety taste but a slight crunch too. The only thing I might try differently next time is to add some other ground nuts to see if this gives a little more crunch (maybe hazelnuts and/or pecans). But they are seriously yummy!
Mexican Wedding Cookies Makes 30 cookies
- 230G BUTTER
- 60G ICING SUGAR
- 1 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- ¼ TSP SALT
- 250G PLAIN FLOUR
- 95G GROUND ALMONDS
- 90G ICING SUGAR IN A BOWL (FOR ROLLING WHEN BAKED)
- Heat the oven to 165 degrees (fan) and line two baking trays
- Put the butter, icing sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy
- Then add the salt, flour and ground almonds and mix on the lowest setting until the dough forms
- Using a tbsp measure, make little round balls with 1 tbsp dough and line them up on the baking trays, one inch apart
- Bake for around 15 mins - you want the balls to be set but not browned so worth checking on them from 12 mins onwards
- Remove from the oven and leave a for few minutes to cool down and then roll them in the remaining icing sugar - and then enjoy!
It's been a crazy week. I haven't had much time for baking and have mostly been running around doing back to back errands. We're ending it with an impromptu visit from my parents and there was a definite need for something rich and chocolatey this afternoon! This is Nigella's recipe for Chocolate Olive Oil & Almond Cake and is both gluten and dairy free - and I can assure you that the lack of either of these does not compromise the taste of this lovely little cake! A couple of changes I might try next time would be to exchange the almond meal for plain flour (needed for anyone with a nut allergy), add instant espresso in place of the vanilla or use coconut sugar in place of the regular white sugar.
I had a slice about 15 mins out of the oven and just warm, it was seriously delicious and would only be improved with a dash of vanilla ice-cream, I think. There are lots of flourless chocolate cake recipes with dark chocolate, but I wanted one that was made from cocoa so chose this one from Nigella and I would wholehearted recommend this for Sunday lunch with friends, a dinner party or maybe even a weekend afternoon treat. It's also very simple to make :)
Chocolate Olive Oil & Almond Cake
- 150ML OLIVE OIL (PLUS A LITTLE MORE FOR GREASING THE CAKE TIN)
- 50G GOOD-QUALITY SIFTED COCOA POWDER (I USED GREEN & BLACK'S)
- 125ML BOILING WATER
- 2 TSP VANILLA EXTRACT
- 150G GROUND ALMONDS
- ½ TSP BICARBONATE OF SODA
- PINCH OF SALT
- 200G CASTER SUGAR
- 3 LARGE EGGS
- ICING SUGAR FOR DUSTING
- Preheat your oven to 170°C. Grease an 8" springform tin with a little oil and line the base with baking parchment.
- Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl or jug and whisk in the boiling water until you have a smooth paste. Whisk in the vanilla extract and then set it aside to cool a little.
- In another bowl, combine the ground almonds with the bicarbonate of soda and pinch of salt.
- Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into a mixer and beat together on fast speed for 3 minutes (it should be a pale, aerated and thickened cream).
- Turn the speed down a little and slowly pour in the cocoa mixture. When it's mixed in, scrape down the side of the bowl and then slowly tip in the ground almond mixture with the mixer still running.
- Scrape down the sides again and then pour this liquid batter into the prepared tin.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very centre, on top, still looks slightly damp.
- Leave it to cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, still in its tin, and then ease the sides of the cake with a small metal spatula and spring it out of the tin.
- Eat warm or leave to cool, if you can wait that long!