Well things are getting serious now in the Bake Off tent- but not serious enough to stop Mel and Sue doing some excellent (?) Eurovision accents and impressions. The cakes were looking delicious, although I can't say I'm a fan of the green marzipan on the Princess Cake. As I am now back at university, I'm having to be more organised and I picked out the cake I would make in advance, rather than watching the show for inspiration, then taking a leisurely mid morning trip to the supermarket the next day. This explains why my cake doesn't really fit the brief for any of this week's tasks- and Kate will know better than anyone the risk of straying away from the brief!
I chose to make something called a Toscatårta, or Swedish almond cake, traditionally eaten at Christmas. This has been on my to-bake list for a while now so I'm glad I found an excuse to try it. I have adapted a recipe from Cake by Rachel Allen to produce a gluten free cake in order to share it with all of my housemates.
It was a pretty simple cake to make, and everyone said it tasted amazing (and we've lived together long enough now that we can be honest on these things). The sponge is very light, sweet but not too sweet, and even with a gluten free flour wasn't dry or crumbly. The almond topping is my favourite part though, and during pathology lectures I've been pondering whether this topping would be a good addition to the coconut and almond cake I've made before. (I think it would. No such thing as too many almonds in my opinion.) The topping is buttery, sweet and totally delicious.
I also have to apologise for the lack of a photo of the full, finished cake out of the tin. The lighting in my kitchen is not good at all, and by the time we had daylight again a significant amount of cake had been eaten. Which is a good sign, of course. My other reason is that it just wasn't looking all that impressive either- I took it out of the tin and put it onto a plate with a thick rim that meant that flat surface was too small and the middle of the cake looked a bit sunken because of this! But enough excuses- let me explain how you too can create this cake!
For the sponge
3 large eggs
150g golden caster sugar
150g gluten free plain flour (or normal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
2tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp milk
75g melted butter
For the topping
100g flaked almonds
50g golden caster sugar
2 tsp plain flour
3tbsp double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Recipe adapted from Cake by Rachel Allen, 2012
(Due to poor lighting there are no step-by-step photos of the sponge process this week, but there's nothing very complicated or technical to illustrate!)
Preheat oven to 180°c (or 160°c if using fan oven). Grease a 24cm diameter spring form cake tin with butter and dust the base lightly with flour.
Melt the butter in a small pan, then set aside to cool.
Break the three eggs into a large bowl, add the sugar and use an electric beater to whisk them together for five to six minutes until thick.
Use a sieve to add the flour and baking powder, then add the vanilla extract, milk and melted butter. Fold everything together until smooth and well mixed, then pour into the cake tin.
Bake for 30 minutes. About five to ten minutes before it comes out, you can start making the topping. Melt butter in a saucepan, add the remaining ingredients and stir. Bring to the boil for about one minute.
Take the cake out the oven and pour on the topping mixture, spreading evenly across the top of the cake. Put back in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is golden.
Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes. Use a sharp knife to loosen the sides, then take it out of the tin and cool full on a wire rack (ideally. I forgot I don't have one here).
Once full cooled, use a palette knife (again, ideally. A large bread knife did the trick here) to transfer it to a plate to serve.
Have you tried any European cakes this week? And any ideas on who's going to win now that we've got half way?!