Almond cake

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The privilege of being able to ask Lois about her recipes or for suggestions of what to make is one that I don’t take for granted. It’s pretty rare to have such access to your food hero and I count myself lucky to know Lois.

My dear friend Kate recently got married in Auckland and I decided to make a cake for her bridal shower. Successful cake baking relies upon good equipment and a knowledge of the oven you’re using, so I knew better than to try and attempt the bake in someone else’s kitchen.

I emailed Lois late last year to ask for her recommendation for a cake that could be made a couple of days before the big day in my Wellington kitchen, would keep well, and be robust enough to withstand being carted to Auckland as hand luggage. Lois immediately suggested her almond cake from Good Food.

Lois was right. The almond cake kept perfectly and appeared unphased by air travel. On the morning of the bridal shower I sandwiched together the three layers of cake using Lois’ buttercream icing and adorned the top with edible flowers. It looked like a dream and tasted like one too.

Almond cake (Lois Daish, Good Food, p. 96)

I tripled this mixture to make three cakes.

200g butter, at room temperature

200g caster sugar

4 free-range eggs

150g plain flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

100g ground almonds

zest and juice of an orange or 1/4 cup of milk 

Preheat oven to 175° and grease and line a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition. Mix together the flour, baking powder and ground almonds and stir gently into the batter alternating with the orange juice or milk. Stir through the zest. Scrape into prepared cake tin and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Buttercream icing (Lois Daish, Listener, October 25 2003, p. 43)

I doubled this recipe to make enough icing for sandwiching three cakes.

125g butter, preferably unsalted

1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons milk, room temperatue

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Add half of the icing sugar and while beating add the milk. Beat in the remaining icing sugar and vanilla.