Thursday, 8 March 2012

Gluten Free Fruit Jam & Toasted Almond Cake

This sweet spring cake is so easy and cheap to bake, a handy recipe to use when there's nothing more than a bit of jam and a few almonds in the kitchen cupboard. Marrying a gorgeous taste combination of a fluffy soft almond interior with a crisp, sweet crunchy exterior, it has all the hallmarks of a classic british tea cake. Plus, if you bake it in a special decorative cake tin, as I did, then it looks as if you've gone to so much more effort than you really have, a big thumbs up for an idle baker. Feel free to add more jam than I did - we only had a spoonful left in the bottom of the jam jar.

My own recipe
Serves 8-10

200g unsalted butter, room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
200g gluten free self raising flour mix (Dove's Farm recommended)
1 teaspoon baking powder (Barkart recommended)
1 teaspoon almond extract
80g toasted flaked almonds
1 and a half tablespoons cherry or raspberry jam

1. Turn the oven to 170C (150C fan ovens), and grease a decorative non stick baking tin (mine came from Lakeland), or grease and line a normal baking tin.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together for at least 3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.

3. Add the first egg to the creamed mixture, then sieve in a little of the flour and beat well. Once combined, add the 2nd egg one with tablespoon of flour, and beat again. Add the last egg, beating hard until the mixture is light and frothy.

4.Next sift in the rest of the flour, and almond extract a bit at a time.

5. Throw in the toasted almond flakes. Stir gently until the flakes are just combined into the batter.

6. Spoon half the batter into the prepared baking tin. Then dot the cherry jam into the batter, using a skewer or teaspoon to swirl it around. Spoon the rest of the batter ontop, before smoothing it down evenly with a spatula.

7. Place in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes, checking it briefly after 35 minutes. Cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly in the final 10 minutes. You'll know it's done when the top bounces back under your finger and a skewer comes out clean.

8. Once baked, if you're using a decorative tin leave the cake to cool in the tin on a wire rack. Once cool, use a spatula or a fork to gently prise the cake away from the tin sides, before placing onto a plate.
If you're using a normal greased and lined baking tin then you can take the cake out of the tin after 20 minutes, to continue cooling on the rack.

9. Dust the top with caster sugar, plus any fresh or glace cherries if you like. Serve lukewarm or cold, with cream or vanilla icecream.

This cake was idly baked while listening to the REM album Out Of Time.

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