I love baking and trying new cook books - especially those with wonderful illustrations to all of the recipes. However I really don't enjoy baking when times are off, especially baking times. This one was off by 30min at guess. I do love the idea of a soft spongy base, with a hard crisp layer of buttery almonds, and eventually this cake did deliver some of those expectations, however it wasn't as good as I'd hoped. I'll write out the recipe with a few changes to the one from the book, including times, and one taste difference (they used 1 tsp.vanilla extract which when the cake was made was utterly overwhelming, I would reduce the vanilla extract to 1/2 tsp and allow the butter flavor of the almonds to come through. Or alternatively I would add 2 Tbs. of rum to the batter instead, or even 1 Tbs of vanilla sugar).
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
2 Tbs. cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup almonds (slivered or thinly sliced)
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Grease a 9 inch springform tin and lightly dust with flour
3. In a small saucepan heat 1/2 the butter and all but 2 Tbs. of the milk. Heat until the butter has melted.
4. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment add the eggs, 3/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract and mix on medium until the mixture has become light and fluffy (around 3 - 5 min).
5. Add the milk and butter mixture and combine for 1 min on medium speed. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
6. Sift in all but 1Tbs. of the plain flour into the mixture, and add in the baking powder.
7. Mix on medium until all the dry ingredients have been well incorporated.
8. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix once again (around 30 seconds).
9. Scrape batter into prepared tin.
10. Bake for 20-25 min, or until the center of the cake is a little undercooked, but the sides are baked.
Method: Topping (to be make when the cake is in the oven)
1. Melt the rest of the butter in a medium fry pan.
2. Add the almonds, the remainder of the sugar (1.25 cups), the 1 Tbs. of flour, 2 Tbs. of milk and the 2 Tbs. of cream and mix until warm and malleable.
1. Remove the cake from the oven and quickly apply the topping to the cake.
2. Place back in the oven and bake until the almond topping is a light golden brown (around 15 min).
3. Remove and place on a wire rack.
4. After cooling for 5 min, remove the sides of the pan, and then the base, and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Adapted from "Sweet Food" ed. Kay Scarlett pp. 220-1.