A half-hour later, the tea table lay in shambles, the decanter stood empty, and the three of them sat in a shared stupor of content. Brianna shifted once or twice, glanced at Roger, and finally asked if she might use his “rest room.”
“Oh, the W.C.? Of course.” He heaved himself to his feet, ponderous with Dundee cake and almond sponge. If he didn’t get away from Fiona soon, he’d weigh three hundred pounds before he got back to Oxford.
“It’s on of the old-fashioned kind,” he explained, pointing down the hall in the direction of the bathroom. “With a tank on the ceiling and a pull-chain.”
“I saw some of those in the British Museum,” Brianna said, nodding. “Only they weren’t in with the exhibits, they were in the ladies’ room.” She hesitated, then asked, “You haven’t got the same sort of toilet paper they have in the British Museum, do you? Because if you do, I’ve got some Kleenex in my purse.”
Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 2 – The Plot Thickens)
I have a confession about my most recent boo boo.
I accidentally deleted 75% of the photos for this post from my camera. They never even made it onto my computer. A wee brain fart and an over-enthusiastic index finger on my mouse button while I was reviewing them is all it took.
The result is a shorter post than usual, with fewer in-process photos.
But don’t let that dampen your enthusiasm for this simple and delicious almond sponge cake. Fiona would want you to try it!
Unless you have arms of steel and experience fierce joy at the thought of whisking by hand, an electric mixer is required for this recipe, known in culinary circles as a genoise. The cake is leavened with eggs, no baking powder or soda needed. The eggs and sugar are whipped at a high speed for a long time to incorporate air, which results in a light, moist sponge.
You know the eggs are done when they’ve about tripled in size and they’re at the ribbon stage, which looks exactly like the photo above. The batter will leave a trail as you drizzle it over the bowl. (Photo courtesy of onceuponachef.com)
: A tender, moist, almond-flavoured cake guaranteed to win your way into Roger’s stomach.
Yield: 8” cake (serves 10-12)
- Unsalted Butter – 2 Tble (30 ml)
- Ground Almonds (powder) – ½ Cup (125 ml)
- Granulated Sugar – ½ Cup
- Almond Extract- ½ tsp (5 ml)
- Vanilla Extract – ½ tsp (5 ml)
- Eggs – 4 Large (AT ROOM TEMPERATURE)
- Cake Flour, sifted – 1 Cup (250 ml)
- Sliced Almonds – for sprinkling
- Powdered (Icing) Sugar – for garnish
Read the recipe through at least once before you begin.
Move the rack to the centre position and preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).
Melt the butter and set aside to cool. Grease an 8” round cake pan and dust with flour.
Combine the ground almonds, granulated sugar, almond extract and vanilla extract in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle. Mix on medium-low speed until well combined with no lumps. Alternatively, combine in a large bowl and use a hand mixer fitted with the beaters on low speed.
Replace the paddle/beaters with the whisk attachment, add the eggs and whip on medium-high speed until the eggs are at the ribbon stage (see photo) and the mixture is tripled in volume, about 20 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the machine and carefully fold in the flour, ensuring it’s well combined. Fold in the cooled melted butter.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle sparingly with sliced almonds. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 25-30 minutes. Remove from the pan and cool on a rack. Dust with the powdered sugar, then slice and serve. Wonderful with berries and cream.
Ith gu leòir! (Eat Plenty)
- The eggs must be at room temperature in order to gain enough volume. Remove them from the fridge at least 2 hours before you begin.
- I ground blanched, sliced almonds in a coffee grinder I reserve for nuts and spices to get the almond powder. To clean a coffee grinder, grind 2 tablespoons of uncooked rice to a powder. Wipe it out and, voilà!