This baby is a simply stupendous teatime treat.
The flavours are perfect for this time of year – it’s the end of August so we’re clinging on to summer with those apricots, but looking forward to autumn with the plums. And it’s an undeniable fact that stone fruits and almond is a match made in heaven.
Weirdly, my sister doesn’t like almonds. Conveniently, she’s not here this weekend. HOLLA, ALMONDLICIOUS CAKE!
Madre and I adore almonds, and we adore having afternoon tea and cake together even more.
It was the day after I’d got home from my year abroad and I really wasn’t going to bake - too many boring adminny things to be done. But then the lure of the Aga, a well-stocked pantry and the available baking utensils (six months without an electric whisk nearly killed me) was too much to resist. Admin can wait till tomorrow, right?
As I’m sure many of you may have gathered, I’ve been really into my healthy baking of late. But when it comes to a nice sponge cake, there is no substitute for butter, sugar and white flour. That said, this cake is so full of ground almonds that you don’t actually use much flour.
It’s an almond-fest, I tell thee. We’ve got almond extract, ground almonds and flaked almonds going on, and it works a dream if you ask me.
Mama actually asked if I’d used marzipan and it really does taste like there’s marzipan lurking somewhere in that cakey goodness, but no.
The cake is beautifully moist throughout, but delightfully chewy at the edges and crunchy thanks to the almonds on top. The tart apricots add a wonderful zing and the subtle plums complement this beautifully.
One thing I love about coming home is that there’s always an abundance of fruit. And currently, the Hosie household is overflowing with it. Our plum trees in the garden are dripping with juicy Victoria plums, so I thought I’d better put them to good use in a cake. What else is a gal to do, eh?
I also used eggs from our garden hens which gives my cake the rather bright yellow colour.
D’you know, you just can’t beat a good spongey cake, and I’ve really rather missed them on the year abroad. Over on the Continent they’re just not so into sponge cakes. Tragic, I know.
Mama and I couldn’t wait to dig in so we cut the cake while it was still a little warm, and although it hadn’t fully firmed up in the middle, it was gorgeous. I’ll be honest, it probably could’ve done with a few more minutes in the oven, and my instructions in the recipe should make yours even better than mine.
This cake is full of flavour, comforting and somehow makes me feel at home.
Hope you love it as much as we do!
Recipe inspired by BBC Good Food's Raspberry Bakewell Cake.
140g unsalted butter, at room temperature
140g golden caster sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
100g self-raising flour
200g ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract
275g plums and apricots, cut into quarters (I used 4 apricots and 3 plums)
2 tbsp flaked almonds
Icing sugar for dusting
2. Spoon 3/4 of the mix into your tin and spread evenly. Layer the chopped fruit evenly on top.
Now the fun bit - using your fingers, smooth the rest of the mix on top of the fruit as best as you can, and sprinkle the ground almonds on top (don't worry, the cake will rise up in the oven and create a more even top.)
3. Bake in the oven for 50 -60 minutes, covering with foil if the top starts to look too dark (I did so after 25 minutes). The cake is done when a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack.
After a few minutes, go round the sides of the tin with a knife, and after about 10 minutes carefully remove the cake from the tin to cool fully on the wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve in big slices with big cups of tea and big grins.