4 delectable cakes, all for one very lucky lady’s birthday. *grin* Clockwise from top left, sponge cake with almond topping, walnut-pecan fudge brownies, vegetarian maple cashew cake, vegetarian chocolate cake with white chocolate and ganache topping
I didn’t get to take a picture of this cake on its own but if you look at the picture, it’s the one on the top left, with the grilled almonds on top. I’ve had this recipe for a really long time actually but it was just recently that I made it again, when I needed to bake four cakes that would not have to be refridgerated, and would be stored in a pretty warm room for quite a while. Cream and butter-based frostings were out of the question and when I was cracking my brains to figure out what I could make, I remembered this. The cake has a soft, sponge base and is topped with a grilled crust of flaked almonds, brown sugar and butter. You have to pierce the baked cake all over with a skewer before pouring on the topping, so that the sauce seeps through the cake, moistening the crumb with buttery syrup. Coupled with the delicious crunchy topping, this is a perfect cake when you’re rushed for time or can’t be bothered to make frosting but still want a good-looking cake. The topping is grilled briefly in the oven after being poured over the cake and this caramelizes the almonds to a gorgeous golden brown. And if you don’t fancy the nuts in the topping, you can also substitute it with unsweetened flaked coconut. It’ll give you a different taste but the visual effect will be similar.
Sponge cake with crunchy almond topping
(makes one 8″ round or square cake)
1 cup white caster sugar (or slightly less if you find it too sweet)
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 pinch salt
1 tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flaked almonds or unsweetened flaked coconut
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp milk
1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease and line bottom of a 8″ round or square tin.
2. Sift flour, salt and baking powder.
3. Using electric beaters, beat eggs for 3-4 mins on high speed. Add white sugar and continue to beat until light, fluffy and increased in volume. Add flour mixure to egg mixture, blending until just combined, on low speed.
4. Bring 1/2 cup milk and 1 tbsp butter to boil. Add to batter and beat to combine.
5. Pour into tin and bake 25-35 mins until cake sides shrink from sides of the pan and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
6. Remove cake from oven and prick all over with a wooden skewer. Remember to poke the holes all the way to the bottom of the cake because you want the sauce to seep all the way through when it is poured over the cake.
7. Combine all the topping ingredients, except the almonds/coconut in a small saucepan. over medium-low heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the butter melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in almonds and coconut and take sauce off the heat. Quickly pour over the cake whilst it’s hot.
8. Set your oven to grill and place cake under grill. Grill for 2-3 minutes until topping is caramelized and golden brown. (check on this every 10-15 seconds because if the grill is too hot, the almonds may burn)
9. Leave the cake to cool in its tin so that the sauce can soak through the crumb. Once completely cool, carefully turn over onto a wire rack, peel off paper and turn back onto a serving plate or even back into the tin. Store cake at room temperature in an airtight container for 3-4 days.