Damp lemon and almond cake

Almond and lemon are two of my favourite flavours, and since this is a really spectacularly easy recipe, this cake emerges from my kitchen fairly frequently. From Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess.

225 g soft unsalted butter
225 g castor sugar
4 large eggs
50 g plain flour
225 g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
zest and juice from 2 lemons

Butter and line a 21 cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. When all the eggs and flour have been incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon zest and juice.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour. Cover with foil after about 30 minutes, once the top is lightly browned. The cake is ready when the top is firm, and a skewer, inserted, comes out cleanish - you want dampness, but not gooey batter. Take the cake out and let it stand for 5 minutes or so in the tin. Then turn it out on a wire rack and leave till cool.

This cake lasts well, and even possibly improves, over the next two days, if wrapped well in foil. Sift icing sugar over the top when serving, and add raspberries and perhaps creme fraiche if they're on hand.

May 2002


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