The kitchen is filled with the scent of vanilla. I’m making two cakes, special cakes for my brother’s special birthday. As these cakes – a meringue layer cake, and a vanilla sheet cake with chocolate baileys icing bake, I thought I’d share with you a very precious recipe for a cake I make once at year at Christmas.
This dense flour free cake is light, surprisingly and rich. A single slice goes a long way, and it always is served to ooohs and ahhs at the table.
I use a stencil to create an icing sugar snowflake, but you can use all sorts of stencils, just don’t ice this cake, as that would take it from being rich and decadent to horrific. It tastes strongly of clementine, followed by spiced notes and the rich flavour of chocolate. It is snug, rich comfort in a slice of cake.
7 small clementines (remove the stems)
6 large eggs
225 g caster sugar
400g ground almonds
75g cocoa powder
icing sugar to dust
3/4 pint water
1-2 tsp mixed spice
3 tsp espresso
Cover the clementines with the water in a saucepan with a tightly fitting lid bring to the boil, and cook on a medium heat for 1.5-2 hours, the water will reduce but be careful it doesn’t cook dry.
Put the clementines and water into a food processer and blend until smooth
Whisk the eggs and sugar for 8-9 minutes on high until doubled in volume, whisk in the espresso
Gently whisk in the cocoa powder and blended clementines, followed by the ground almonds, mix well.
Pour into the prepared (lined with baking paper) tin and bake at 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF, Aga lowest shelf top oven, with cold shelf just above cake tin for one hour until a skewer comes out clean.
Let cool in the tin.
Using a stencil create a snowflake with icing sugar.
Cake can be served warm or cold, and will keep for up to a week in an airtight tin.
By Nicky Cahill
If anyone has any food related questions or ideas for products they’d like Nicky to try, do get in touch.