This weekend has involved a lot of cake.
For someone who is supposed to be on a pre-holiday healthy eating kick, it was probably filled with too much cake. But you can’t turn down special occasion cake can you? And if that special occasion happens to just be a friday afternoon, then so be it. Life is all about celebrating the little moments.
In addition to the friday afternoon cake pictured here, more of which later, I spent most of the weekend engaged in a father’s day baking extravaganza for my parents and my boyfriend’s parents who were all invited for afternoon tea. There were Nigella’s flourless brownies, a Victoria sponge and some lemon cupcakes which I won’t link to because they were pretty disappointing.
When planning the menu, I hadn’t realised what a grammatical minefield I would be crossing with my brownies. As there were going to be 16 brownies, I decided to use them to spell out ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and ice a letter on each one. A lively twitter debate then ensued as to whether ‘Father’ should be singular (to represent fathers everywhere) or plural (because there were two fathers present). I should just add here that I love and appreciate the seriousness with which my friends entered into this conversation, it warmed my heart even if it didn’t provide me with an answer. In the end, I solved the dilemma by eating the apostrophe brownie.
All of those cakes were delicious in their own ways but I really wanted to talk about this raspberry and almond cake. I found some English raspberries in a local shop and I pounced on them.
Well, I didn’t actually pounce on them because I’m English but I asked very politely if I could have some raspberries which is almost the same. I had a vague plan for a cake, tender with ground almonds, rich with olive oil and full of jammy pockets (with thanks to Kathryne for a phrase that’s been haunting me since I read it).
In some recipes, the substitution of ground almonds for some of the flour can work very nicely. I’ve never been able to replace more than about a quarter of the flour without causing some severe structural damage to the cake but a little can go a long way. I think it is particularly good in a recipe like this where you’re using whole grains but where you don’t want too robust a texture or taste from the flour.
- 4 medium eggs
- 110g (1/2 cup) unrefined caster/granulated sugar
- 45ml (3 tablespoons) extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- 85g (3/4 cup) whole wheat flour
- 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds/almond meal
- 130g (1 cup) raspberries
- Powedered sugar and raspberries to serve
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F and well grease a 23cm tin with butter.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy and has tripled in size (at least 5 minutes, probably closer to 10).
- Pour in the olive oil and vanilla and continue to whisk until it has been incorporated.
- Fold the flour and ground almonds into the mixture with a metal spoon, trying not to lose any of the air.
- Finally fold in the raspberries.
- Pour into the tin* and bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is golden brown and starting to shrink from the edges of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
- To serve, dust with icing sugar.
* You know how I like my little notes. Depending on how enthusiastically you whipped your eggs and how much you deflate it during the folding, you may have a little extra mixture or may want to use a slightly bigger tin. Sometimes this quantity fits perfectly, sometimes I have a couple of tablespoons extra. The latter normally happens when I’ve left the mixer going and lost track of time…