Such is the deep connection between us after over 11 years together. He can now read my mind.
A few days ago, after dithering for the past two and a half years, I finally bought myself a KitchenAid mixer. It is a thing of great, great beauty and I love it. After G woke up I did go downstairs ("Would you like a cup of tea in bed, darling?") and stroke the mixer.
For the mixer's inaugural cake I wanted to find a recipe that would ordinarily involve lots of beating, mixing and aching arms, just so that I could really appreciate the mixer's brilliance. I also wanted something light, bright, yellow and spring-like - suitable for St David's Day and the abundance of daffodils. I eventually settled on one of Nigella's recipes from How To Be A Domestic Goddess: Damp Lemon and Almond Cake.
Like Nigella I have a bit of a thing for almonds. Especially in cakes. Last summer when we were visiting my Grandmother in the far corner of the North Yorkshire Dales, she served us the nicest Bakewell Tart I have ever eaten (and I have eaten a few in my time because I LOVE Bakewell Tart). She had bought it at the local bakery. Since then I have been experimenting with different jams, pastries and quantities of almonds and almond essence to re-create that Bakewell Tart, but still haven't quite managed it.
This lemon and almond cake of Nigella's is a sort of Italian influenced Bakewell Tart. Yum.
Nigella Lawson's Damp Lemon and Almond Cake
- 225g soft unsalted butter
- 225g caster sugar
- 4 eggs
- 50g plain flour
- 225g ground almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
- grated zest and juice of 2 unwaxed lemons
Preheat the oven to Gas 4 and butter and line a 21cm Springform cake tin. Cream together the butter and sugar until white and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. Stir in the ground almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice and almond essence.
Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 1 hour (Nigella says approx. 1 hour but it only took 45 mins in my oven so I suggest you start checking after about 40 mins). The cake is ready when the top is firmish and a cocktail stick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs stuck to it. Let the cake cool in the tin for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
It tastes wonderful all by itself, but with the addition of a few raspberries and a dollop of creme fraiche it would enter another league altogether. I do love Nigella's recipes.
PS You don't need a mixer to make this cake - and indeed it so delicious that it would be worth having slightly achy arms after making it!