Its cold outside…really cold. And when it gets cold, I want to eat lovely comforting food to cheer myself up a bit. So the other day, after a rather freezing walk with the dog, I fancied making a cake. I went through my folder of recipes that I pull out of my favourite food magazines each month and came across this recipe for almond cake with a spiced citrus syrup in Delicious Magazine. It worked a treat. Its soft, light and unbelievably moist, and has beautiful wintery spiced flavours.
Butter, for greasing
6 medium eggs, separated
225g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp extra
230g ground almonds
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
For the syrup:
50g caster sugar
Juice of 1 orange
Juice of 1 large lemon
1 star anise
1 large cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C (fan)/gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm round, deep springform cake tin with baking paper.
Put the egg yolks and 225g sugar in a large bowl. Using an electric hand whisk, beat for a few minutes until pale and thick.
Fold in the almonds and zests. It will be quite stiff at this stage.
In a separate large bowl, whisk the egg whites with the extra sugar to soft peaks. Mix a little into the almond mixture to loosen, then gently fold in the rest until combined.
The pour into the tin.
Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the sugar and fruit juices into a small pan with the spices and leave over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, until syrupy. At this point, your kitchen will smell like Christmas…the spices are intoxicating.
Strain into a bowl and cool slightly.
Invert the cake onto a plate and pierce the base all over with a fine skewer. Spoon over the syrup, giving it time to soak in.
Wait until the syrup has soaked into the sponge and serve. I served with cream (although the cake is so moist it doesn’t really need it) and a scattering of pomegranate seeds.
Please try this cake out if you get a chance, it really is delicious, and so light.