Saturday 1 March 2008

Yellowness and a new toy

I was lying in bed early this morning, enjoying the fact that for once I was awake earlier than G, and pondering whether I could slide out of bed without waking him. After a few minutes he rather unnervingly popped open one eye and said "You're wondering whether you can get downstairs without waking me so that you can go and gaze at your new mixer, aren't you?".

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!


  1. I'm drooling! Your new mixer looks great, it would just end up shuffed in a cupboard at my house!

  2. so you're saying I HAVE to buy a new mixer the same as yours if I am to make the cake successfully then...? So you're INSISTING? Ok then. I will.xxxx

  3. Oooh, I've got that mixer! It has pride of place on top of my fridge. I love the adoration Nigella heaps on hers! I've not tried that cake, but it looks delish!

  4. ooh love your mixer, I have the matching blender and I'm hoping that sometime soon it will have a mixer friend to sit next to! and I'd sneak downstairs and stroke it too - in fact I stroked my new oven yesterday.....
    the cake looks delicious!

  5. Well impressed with your new KitchenAid. (I have to make do with a cheap imitation). I'm going to have to try that cake. Almonds and lemon. Heaven!


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