Awakening – Anthony de Mello, were my first thoughts this morning. I reached for the book on my shelf, read so many times and yet needed to be read one more time. This simple and nourishing book is needed occasionally to awaken me. That would be the simple but honest reason. The other might be a sleepless night, blurred thoughts and the need for (besides a strong coffee) a straight and fast quality in my life.
The interesting part of this story though, is that just a few shelves away from my brain cell stimulating books, I keep my other nourishing books (or at last some of them, because honestly they are all around the house, refusing to find one place to stay). I am talking about ones with all the magic ingredients for a sweet life, the ones that give you instant relief amongst all the answers. And the right answer always is – indulge yourself! (because we are a selfish species anyway – a very rough description of much deeper thoughts of the above mentioned wise person).
So what happened here today is that I fed myself twice. Since I took two books, or to be more precise a book and a note book also known as recipe book in my house, and without a vivid explanation I reached for an almost forgotten, slightly mysterious recipe called Almond cake! What could possibly be mysterious about Almond cake ? Well you see all the recipes in my recipe book have a short explanation about their background. Even just a name of the person who gave me the recipe would tell me a lot about a desert, but in this case there was no explanation on the background subject, except for my smudgy handwriting at the right top corner, saying “Auntie’s cake”?! Don’t laugh! I spent whole morning thinking about the mysterious Auntie, since we are not talking about my Auntie here. Whose Auntie that could be and why didn’t I write a clearer explanation? No answer here: again, all the answers are in the cake. And the cake itself! Oh you need to taste this one, as my words are simply not enough!
The cake is made from four ingredients. Like many old recipes, it’s simple to make but divine in it’s simplicity and most importantly it’s gluten free! I used unblanched almonds (the only reason is laziness since I couldn’t get the blanched ones and couldn’t be bothered to blanche and dry them for a few hours) so the cake is slightly darker that it should be. Not a problem at all. As a matter of fact, if you find yourself to be in the same situation, don’t hesitate to do the same. Also I love the almond essence twist. The cake is quite moist thus can be served as it is and enjoyed. Of course your preference may be different so you can serve it with whipped cream or maybe adding lemon zest can make it even better. I’ll leave it to you!
Almond cake – gluten free
125 gr caster sugar
125 gr unsalted butter (melted and left to cool on a room temperature)
150 gr almond meal
1 1/2 teaspoon almond essence
pinch of salt
Heat oven to 180 C. Grease and line with baking paper 22cm round tin.
If you don’t use almond meal, the one you can buy at the markets you can grind the blanched (also can be both at the supermarkets) or unblanched ones until very fine.
Separate the yolks from the whites and place them in two bowls. In the one with the egg yolks add the sugar and beat 3-5 minutes or until very pale and light. Add the butter and beat until all combined. Reduce the speed of your mixer and add almond essence and almond meal. Mix until all incorporated.
Add sea salt in the bowl with the egg whites and beat for 4-5 minutes or until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Combine two mixtures by adding the egg whites to the other mix, mixing gently with a spatula so you don’t lose the air from the egg whites.
Pour into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45-50 minutes to until cake tester comes out clean.
Cool on a cooling rack and dust with powdered sugar before serving.