greengage, almond and vanilla cake
This is fast becoming one of my favourite go-to cake recipes. I love the flavour and tender crumb that comes from the addition of sour cream in a cake batter. We can also use a little less butter as a consequence. You can play around with the quantity of ground almonds you use, so don’t panic if you don’t quite have enough – just substitute the missing almonds with more flour. Ground almonds always produce a deliciously moist cake with great keeping qualities.
Here, I wanted to use the very last of my greengages, but any firm fruit would do. Try to avoid very soft and ripe fruit or you will find the base of your cake may become a little soggy. If that should happen, you’ll have a very happy accident: just serve warm with some vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche and it becomes a delicious pudding!
Ground almonds 100g
Plain flour 75g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Bicarb of soda ¼ tsp
Vanilla essence 1 tsp
Sour cream 60ml (= 4 tbsp)
Caster sugar 150g
Butter, softened 125g
Approx 10-12 firm greengages or plums
Icing sugar for dusting
You will need one 9” (23cm) spring-form cake tin, greased and lined.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C fan/350°F
For ease and convenience, you can make this cake batter in your mixer, using the all-in-one method, but I prefer to make the extra effort to separate my eggs and fold in my egg whites.
First sieve together your flour, baking powder and bicarb of soda then add your ground almonds and set aside. Next beat together your sugar and softened butter until light and creamy. Add your vanilla essence and sour cream and beat for a few more seconds.
Now separate your eggs. Place the yolks in your creamed butter and combine. With a clean whisk, beat the egg whites until you have stiff peaks (ensure both whisk and bowl are completely fat/oil/yolk free).
Finally, you can combine the dry ingredients, the egg whites and butter cream. Do this in thirds, folding first a third of the egg whites into the butter cream mixture, then a third of the almonds/flour. Keep alternating and gently folding, trying to retain much of the light airiness provided by the egg whites as you go, until you have incorporated all the ingredients and have a well-combined, light cake batter.
Pour/spoon cake mixture into your lined and greased cake tin. On top, arrange your halved, de-stoned fruit (either way up – the fruit will sink lower), and place in the oven and bake for 50-60mins.
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