Thursday, February 5, 2009
lemon almond cake
I've been working on this cake for a while, and I think--after the fourth try--I've mastered it. It's a veganisation (and lemonification) of Nigella's famous Clementine Cake. My main difficulty, I think, was that Meyer lemons are a lot wetter than clementines, so I had to reduce the liquid quite a bit for the cake to not come out as damp as a steamed pudding.
Lemon Almond Cake
150g blanched almonds
1t baking powder
200g Meyer lemons (2 or 3, depending on their size)
1T each tapioca flour and golden flax seed or meal
1t vanilla extract
Cook the lemons, whole, in a pressure cooker with 1/3C water (or whatever is the smallest amount that will let your cooker come up to pressure) for 6 minutes at high pressure. Alternatively, boil in a pan of water for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool till they're easy to handle, then quarter them and pick out the seeds. Put in a blender with 2T of the cooking water and the tapioca, flax, and vanilla. Blend until very smooth and fluffy.
Grind the almonds in a food processor with the sugar till they're very fine, feeling like fine cornmeal when you rub it between your fingers. Add the salt and baking powder and mix together well. Stir in your lemon paste, then spread the batter in a greased 7" cake pan. Bake at 375°F for 1/2 an hour, then cover with tin foil and turn the heat down to 350°F, and cook for another 25 minutes. Let cool in its pan, then hide it away to eat the next day. This cake is very moist, and should keep well for several days.
If you want to make it with clementines, just cook them a little longer (7 minutes in the pressure cooker, 2 hours in a conventional pan) and add 3T of water when you're blending them. A pinch of cinnamon would go well with the clementines.
Ready-made almond meal works well too, but results in an unappealingly wholesome-looking cake, all flecked with brown. It's less work, though, and you don't have to dirty up a food processor. Just whisk the almond meal, baking powder, sugar and salt together, then mix in the lemon fluff.