One of my family’s favourite cakes – for special occasions…
- 4 egg whites
- 200g icing sugar
- 200g almonds, ground into a light, dry flour
- 2tsp baking powder
- Pinch of salt
Start by weighing out the almonds and milling them (by hand if possible) until you have a uniformly ground ‘flour’.
I use an old fashioned hand operated mill from the 1960s and have found this gives the best result. If using a kitchen machine please take care not to process the almonds for too long or you might end up with an oily consistency.
The finished ground almonds should be dry and light in texture.
Line the base of a tin (24cm/25cm) tin. Preheat the oven to 150°c. Separate the eggs and place the whites in the mixing bowl you’re using, and set aside the yolks for making the cream later. Start whipping the egg whites with a pinch of fine salt until they form peaks, then start adding icing sugar little by little (as you would a meringue) until you have a smooth mixture. Add the ground almonds and fold in gently for an even mixture. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth the top. Place on the lower shelf in the oven for around 50-60 minutes. When done it should be light in colour. Cool the cake a little bit before loosening the ring and sliding it off unto a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely before decorating.
You can make the cake a couple of days in advance if necessary, just store in an airtight tin and cool.
For the Cream filling
- 4 egg yolks
- 100ml whipping cream
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 125g salted butter
- 15-20 roasted almonds finely slivered
Add the yokes to a saucepan along with the sugar and cream and mix until you have an even ‘slurry’. This stage is like making custard so don’t leave the cooker during this process. Heat the mixture gently until it starts to thicken, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. This can only be done on a low heat with patience and time. It might take 20 minutes (or longer) until you have a smooth thickened mixture. When the mixture has reached the consistency of thick custard it is done. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to a suitable bowl to cool down. Cover with cling film to avoid a skin forming. Cool to room temperature. Once the mixture has reached room temperature you can start adding the softened butter – little by little – and mix until you have a uniform consistency. It should be totally smooth. If the butter isn’t soft enough (a knife should slide easily through it) you’ll have difficulties incorporating it into the egg cream. Add the cream to the top of the cake and scatter with roasted slivered almonds.
Grated dark chocolate can also be used in addition to the almonds. The cake base is very versatile and can also be topped with:
Whipped cream, chocolate/caramel sauce and topped with chopped salted peanuts/almonds.
Soften ice cream (or make your own) and make it into an ice cream cake. Decorate accordingly.
The base is great for a cheesecake. Make the filing and simply use the original tin to set in.
Recipes, styling, props and photography by Rune Wold