This cake by Lucas Hollweg (courtesy of the Sunday Times Magazine), has become an instant hit with my TA friends on its first outing! Although I detest the word "moist", there is no other way properly to describe this fabulous cake. I made it with a gluten-free flour blend, which worked brilliantly, plus my own elderflower cordial and home-laid eggs (how boastful is that!). The concept of stopping armed conflict at 4pm for tea and cake is one we all felt should be encouraged, as it boosts morale and sugar levels, enabling that final surge of energy before the evening. It is also quintessentially English, in fact, as English as afternoon tea..
|Elderflower and Almond Cake|
Elderflower and Almond Cake
8oz/225g softened butter
2oz/50g self-raising flour (or a blend)
1 level tsp baking powder
7oz/200g ground almonds
8oz/225g golden caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
finely grated zest of a lemon
Syrup and Icing:
160ml undiluted elderflower cordial
juice of the lemon
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
5 ½ fl oz/150ml mascarpone
5 fl oz/150ml double cream
handful of chopped pistachios
Preheat the oven to 180 deg C, and line a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment, and grease with butter (I now use Dr Oetker’s cake release spray, it’s magic!) . Mix together the flour, baking powder and ground almonds. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. Add the eggs slowly, beating well after each one (you can add 1 tbsp of the flour at the same time to stop the mix curdling). Add the remaining flour, and beat it in quickly.
Pour the batter into the tin, and bake for approx 40-45 minutes until it is well risen and golden, or until a warm skewer comes out clean. Slow is best, so don't be afraid to cook it longer. If it starts to brown on the top, cover loosely with a sheet of foil.
While the cake is cooking, mix 3 ½ oz/100ml cordial with the lemon juice and 1tbsp sugar. Remove the cake from the oven, leave it in the tin, then spike it all over and pour the syrup onto it, making sure it is evenly drenched. You won’t believe how much liquid one cake can absorb! Leave it to cool in the tin, then gently remove – it will be very moist.
To make the icing, whisk the mascarpone with the remaining cordial until smooth, before adding the cream and whisking it again to make a softly thick but spreadable icing. Cover the top of the cake and scatter with chopped pistachios.