Monday, 21 February 2011

Because the lady loves almonds...

I wanted to make Kirstie a birthday cake and she went so mad for the Amaretto on NYE, that I knew she was a big almond fan. I decided to make the cherry and almond (bakewell-esque) cake from
Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.
I find once I've made something 3 times the process is more or less committed to memory and I can make it in half the time. Having made one of these for Shree's curry night this week also, I need an excuse to make one more; is half-term excuse enough...? I think so!

And the secret ingredient in this is 2 small-ish maris piper potatoes! It creates quite an unusual mix of aromas when it's cooking but the potato gives it a really good texture and holds it all together really well.
So here it is...

What you need:

2x 18cm-diameter x 5cm deep, loose-bottomed tins
2x Greaseproof baking paper circles {cut to the the size of removable bases (18cm diameter)}

250g glace cherries
(Sainsburys and Tescos only sold 200g, they were fine - the "ready-halved" ones were even better)
3 medium free-range eggs (ROOM temperature)
180g caster sugar
200g finely grated potato (e.g maris piper [low water content])
100g rice flour (I used normal) plus 2 extra tsps to coat cherries
1 tsp almond extract
100g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
very finely grated zest of half an unwaxed lemon (finest possible shred)

About 2/3 of a jar of quality red cherry jam (Bonne Maman was nice)

20g of toasted almond flakes
1 tsp icing sugar
small sprinkle of ground cinnamon

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly brush the tins with veg. oil or butter, then line the tins with greaseproof paper and oil again.

2. Cut the cherries in half (if they aren't already and coat in the reserved flour.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar for 5 mins until pale and light.

4. Next, beat in the grated potato until well combined. Finally, add the flour, ground almonds, almond extract, baking powder, salt and lemon zest until well incorporated.

5. Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and gently place the cherries on top of each cake so that they are slightly sunken into the mixture. Place them in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes.

6. Once cooked, remove the cakes from the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool for 10 mins. Gently peel away the baking parchment.

7. Toast the flaked almonds until just golden in a dry pan if you didn't buy the ready toasted ones.

8. Spread a generous layer of cherry jam onto one half of the cake.

9. Put other half of cake on top, sprinkle with the flaked almonds a dusting of the icing sugar and cinnamon mixed together.


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