If you want an impressively simple and scrumptious cake to make over the holidays and even take travelling, this is for you! We made it the first day of our Cordon Bleu course and though it was the fastest it was one of the best for me. The kind you put in your mouth and time stops. You just say ‘Wow!’ The secret is beating very little air in so the cake stays moist and it’s almost like marzipan. It’s made with butter, sugar, eggs and ground almonds, decorated with sliced almonds or anything else you fancy. There’s a little citrus zinginess with orange blossom water, candied lemon and zest but they’re optional and you can easily add your own flavourings. This was the cake that got the most votes on the ‘I’d like the recipe for…’ polls where you voted for adapted Cordon Bleu creations. Little drumroll for the winner: the amazing flourless lemon almond cake. 🙂
Instead of having a traditional square shape as in the original recipe, I used a heart-shaped tin and also made a few individual domes. They were all lovely but you need to keep a careful eye on smaller cakes so they stay moist and don’t get too done. Even less moist they’re delicious though.
I also decided to flavour with lemon zest and a little orange blossom water, then top with some candied lemon peel to add a slight citrus touch to the original recipe. But you could use vanilla, add dried fruit or chocolate chips or leave the cake plain. I might try adding matcha green tea one day…
- 125g/4.4oz softened butter
- 200g/1 cup less 2 tablespoons caster/superfine sugar
- 250g eggs (about 4 and a half medium-sized eggs – I used 4 eggs plus half an egg white)
- 250g/2 cups ground almond
- finely grated zest of 1 to 2 lemons, to taste
- a quarter teaspoon or so orange blossom water, to taste (optional)
- a little icing sugar and a few slivers of candied lemon peel to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 130°C/270°F (fan/convection oven) or 150°C/300°F (static oven)
Butter your cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper. Brush a thin layer of softened butter on the baking paper then sprinkle a handful of flaked almonds (about 100g) into the tin so you have an even spread on the bottom and sides. Swivel the tin around if necessary and place some extra flaked almonds in gaps.
- Use a whisk to cream the butter in a large bowl till smooth and light.
- Whisk in the sugar till combined and creamy.
- Stir in half the beaten egg with your whisk. Don’t whisk a lot of air in – the more air you incorporate the drier your cake will be.
- Stir in the other half of beaten egg with your whisk.
- Briefly stir in the flavourings.
- Gently fold in the ground almonds with a rubber spatula till just combined. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the cake batter into your prepared cake tin to about three-quarters full.
- Bake in the middle of your oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes (30-40 minutes for small cakes). Don’t open the oven door for the first 50 minutes (25 minutes for small cakes) and be flexible about baking times as it depends on your batter, cake tin and oven. A skewer or sharp knife inserted in the middle of the cake should come out clean and your cake should be a light golden brown colour.
- Allow to cool 5 minutes then run a butter knife carefully around the sides and unmould onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
- When cool sift some icing sugar on the cake and decorate with slivers of candied lemon peel. The famous Cordon Bleu Chef Ted helped out here. Ahem. 🙂
Here’s the illustrated recipe (click here for the black and white recipe to colour):
Storing and eating
This cake keeps well for up to 5 days or a week, wrapped tightly in plastic film. It also freezes really well for up to a month or so. In French it’s known as a cake de voyage, which means it travels happily for picnics, hikes, parties and similar events.
So do please have a slice or two. It’s really moist and yummy. And so simple to make you could easily rustle up your own. Yay!
Hoping you’ve had a lovely weekend sweet reader and if you celebrate Christmas then I hope you’ve also enjoyed some wonderful festivities. Happy holiday or non-holiday baking and eating! 🙂 x