29 March 2013

Nigella Challenge: Easy Almond Cake

Golden, buttery, velvety deliciousness. If Nigella is to be trusted (and obviously the answer is yes!), then this could very well be the ultimate cake. It can be a plain-as-tea-cake or a fancy-dinner-party-grand-finale. It's everything, and more. The more? It's one of the simplest cakes I've ever made. Though I am the first to admit not necessarily the cheapest. The marzipan and half-a-dozen eggs will do that to an ingredients list...

So here's my 2nd cake in the Nigella Challenge:
  • 250g unsalted butter, soft
  • 250g marzipan, soft*
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond essence
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
  • 10g self raising flour
Preheat oven to 170C (180C in a conventional oven).

Chop butter and marzipan and process in a food processor til smooth. If you don't have a food processor (like me) a stick mixer, blender or electric mixer will do. What you are essentially doing is creaming the butter and marzipan. Add sugar gradually. Add almond essence and vanilla extract (go easy on the almond, as its a very strong flavour). Add eggs one at a time, combining well after each. Add flour gradually and continue processing until smooth.

This can be backed in one of those ring-shaped tins (doughnut...) or in an ordinary spring-form pan. It's very versatile and you can just use what you have. Could even do a loaf if you like. When changing the tin, you will need to watch cooking time more closely.

If using a ring, round or large-ish square tin bake for 40-50 minutes til golden on top and cooked through. A loaf would probably need the full 50 minutes, maybe longer.

Leave in the tin until completely cool. If you don't it will fall apart when you try to take it out (also why spring-form is recommended). Serve dusted with icing sugar, a scoop of ice-cream/double cream and a dollop of jam (raspberry is perfection!). Alternatively you can garnish with fresh seasonal berries and dust with icing sugar. For a dinner party treat, Nigella recommends using seasonal berries, drizzling with chocolate ganache/sauce and sprinkling over some toasted flaked almonds. 

*Marzipan is available in supermarkets in the baking isle, generally near the icing sugar. Otherwise, specialty food stores are sure to stock it.