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Fiona's Almond Sponge from DIA

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."

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!

ribbon-stage

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)

almond sponge DIA

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Comments

19 Mar 2013 - 12:43pm

Aaron Brown

Yummy!!!

19 Mar 2013 - 5:06pm

Jeanne


Hi Theresa,nnThis recipe is a great reason to gather some friends for tea. Have you ever thought of doing the recipes for an entire tea service? I know there are rules of etiquette and, not being British, I haven't the faintest idea what they are. Perhaps your Mannie could help? nnOn a side note, my Cherry Bounce (destined for Fergus in August) is coming along nicely. Many Thanks!!nnJeanne

Theresa


I may get to an entire tea service one day, Jeanne...but in the meantime, there`s a Downton Abbey food blog, also written by a professional chef, that`s done a pretty great job with a full-on guide to hosting a tea already! Here`s a link to get you started: http://downtonabbeycooks.com/recipe-index/

31 Mar 2013 - 4:22am

Bree


I made this tonight (haven't tasted it yet) and it only rose about half as high as yours. I beat the eggs for 20 minutes (they only rose to double not triple) and they achieved the ribbon state. Should I have gone past the 2o minutes and just kept beating them until they achieved triple volume? I was worried that if I did that too much beating would ruin it. nAdvice? Thanks :)

Theresa


Hi, Bree! If they were at ribbon stage, I would have stopped too. But I`m wondering if beating for another 5-10 minutes wouldn`t have done the trick. I`m sorry it didn`t work out perfectly...but I bet it still tastes good!nnI think I`ll change the instructions to beat for 20-30 minutes, until you achieve triple volume, and I hope you`ll try again! nnThanks for letting me know. :)

Bree


I had a piece of the cake with some Carmelita tea last night and it did taste good albeit a tad dense. I think I'm going to slightly soak the bottom of the rest of the cake with the Carmelita tea and top it with some whipped cream and make it an impromptu tiramisu (i don't drink coffee).nI will definitely be trying this again. I've seen some recipes call for the use of a bain marie to help achieve the volume... I'd like to avoid the complication of that but I am not accustomed to being beaten by a recipe so I will try just about anything to achieve success. :)n(i've always had better success with savory cooking vs. desserts)nThanks for your help and your lovely recipes!

03 Sep 2014 - 6:52pm

Joan Sanford


I was wondering if there were any high altitude alterations that need to be made to this recipe to make it come out right. I live at 4000 ft in a fairly dry environment and have a little difficulty getting any cake to rise (and cook) properly.

Theresa


I'm afraid I don't know anything about baking at altitude. I've lived at sea level my whole life.

03 Sep 2014 - 9:40pm

Joan Sanford


Thanks anyway. I'm going to try the original recipe and just see how I do. I'll let you know how it goes.

10 Dec 2014 - 4:35pm

Jennifer Garner


I recently made this cake for my Outlander club. I thought this was going to be hard, but it turned out to be really good. I was unsure about getting the eggs to ribbon stage, because I didn't have a whisk attachment and I didn't want to do it by hand. Finally after ten minutes of whisking by hand I decided to use my hand mixer. The mix did triple in size. It all turned out great and delicious. I will be making this again in the future. Thank you.

16 Aug 2015 - 10:42pm

Lets Read a B…


Fionas Almond Sponge Cake Recipe from DIA and Outlander Kitchen( outlanderkitchen.com ) http://outlanderkitchen.com/2013/03/19/fionas-almond-sponge-from-dia/

29 Sep 2015 - 8:30pm

Carol Mackey


What a yummy-looking tea cake! Are those the ubiquitous Pender Island Blackberries garnishing the top? Next time I'm taking a dessert to a family dinner, this will be it! I also use a coffee grinder (per your suggestion) for spices and nuts, but was wondering if using a bit of the flour in it, say a teaspoon, would help the almonds from becoming butter--or does the blanching take care of the fat? I did this for a pie crust made with ground raw almonds and flour (I didn't care about the skins), because when I grind other nuts--namely peanuts--sometimes I get a bit of butter. Even flax seeds seem to begin to get gummy (goes in the morning oatmeal). Really looking forward to your cookbook!! =D

Helen


It takes a LONG time in a high powered food processor to turn almonds into almond butter, so I don't think you have to worry if you are using a coffee grinder. You'll get it to a granular stage quick enough. You can also buy almond meal in the bulk food section at most grocery stores, if you'd rather not grind your own.

04 Apr 2016 - 9:01pm

Fergus's Iced…


could also use Fionas Almond Sponge, but this recipe can be tricky, so work

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