I do like this cake. It’s pretty much a basic Victoria sponge recipe, but with the flour component partly replaced by ground almonds, which gives a lovely moist, dense texture. It looks impressive, and I often make it to take as a pudding for supper round at friends’ houses. It’s the work of 15 minutes to whizz up the batter and then you just need to cook it for an hour or so.
This time I served it simply with blueberries and a fresh strawberry sauce made by whizzing up berries in a blender with some sugar and lemon juice. (Don’t do this with raspberries unless you can bothered to sieve, as otherwise it’ll be full of irritating pips.) I think it needs a sauce, so if you can’t be bothered to make a fruit puree, then just use cream. Or even custard in the winter.
Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350F.
You’ll need a nice deep cake tin about 8” in diameter. Grease the tin well.
You can do this next bit by hand but, seriously, unless you are looking for ways to incorporate exercise into every moment of your daily routine, use a Kitchen Aid, Magimix, hand mixer or similar. Life’s too short.
Put the butter and both sugars into the mixing bowl, and cream together. You are aiming for a light & fluffy start to the process.
Add the vanilla essence, and then one egg at a time, along with a spoonful of flour, to avoid the mixture curdling.
Then add the rest of the flour a heaping spoonful at a time with the mixer still on, followed by the rest of the dry ingredients: the almond flour & baking powder.
Then pour the mixture into the greased cake tin.
Lick out cake bowl.
Pop in oven and check for done-ness at 45 minutes with a skewer. If the cake is cooked, the skewer will come out clean. If there is any hint of batter on the skewer it needs more cooking. Ovens vary and it’s difficult to be precise. It shouldn’t take over an hour. If the top looks brown but it’s uncooked in the middle, turn the heat down to about 160C
When you think the cake is done, remove the tin from the oven, run a knife around the edge, and gently turn the cake onto an airing rack to cool.
(I’m always scared of undercooking, well, everything, & this is definitely much browner than cookbooks tell you. But it works well in this recipe, as it makes for a lovely crunchy surround, which contrasts with the fluffy, nutty middle.
When it’s cooled, sift icing sugar over the top, and feed your cake to hungry people:
As you can see from the pic, adding the ground nuts makes for a denser crumb. I used whole ground almonds from America, (Trader Joe’s to be precise), so my cake was speckled. It’s more usual in the UK to find almonds ground without their skins.
My friends are lovely greedy pigs, and this large cake fed just five of us. Including two girls who don’t eat a lot of cake. Basically Marc inhaled most of it. Here he is, going for broke.
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence – do not substitute flavouring. Better to use nothing.
175g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
80g ground almonds (UK) or almond flour (US)
1 x 8″ cake tin