|Nigel Slater's almond, marzipan and berry cakes|
The gentle frost and muted colours of my garden made me think of a beautiful photograph by Jonathan Lovekin in Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries II, for almond, marzipan and berry cakes. The recipe is on page 44 and the photograph on the facing page of Kitchen Diaries II.
The recipe itself came about after one of Nigel's trips to Norway, where he was able to immerse himself in the fashionable new bakeries of Oslo. I remember seeing the recipe a couple of years ago in his Guardian column and made a mental note to bake it and then promptly forgot. The photograph was a lovely call-to-action.
The recipe can be found here on The Guardian website, or here on the BBC website, but I would urge you to get hold of a copy of Kitchen Diaries II. Go out and buy it or borrow a copy from your local library. It is, as usual, a delightful read; a lovely, gentle exploration of food and tastes for the home cook. (Although I have should have learned by now not to read at bedtime. There is a predictable inevitability of waking at 3am absolutely bloody starving!)
I had to make a few very minor changes to the original recipe. Firstly, I made a traybake rather than individual cakes and then cut the cake into squares.
Secondly, my cake batter was extremely stiff. (I used medium rather than large eggs.) I added a small splash of milk to loosen the mix a little.
Lastly, the original recipe used 200 grammes of mixed berries, including blueberries and red currants. I only had 100 grammes of blueberries and the house was bereft of any other fresh fruit. This lazy cook's solution was to use half a jar of last year's plum jam, combined with the blueberries to top the cake. The cake was probably a little stickier than Nigel's version, but gorgeous nonetheless. Blueberries and plums work well with the almond flavours. Do let the cake cool completely as I think it improves the flavour and then you can really taste the almonds.
The proof is in the pudding, so it is said. For me a sign of a successful bake is by the crumbs in the empty cake tin and the hopeful plea for more.
Since this is a Nigel Slater recipe, I am entering into Janice at Farmsgirl Kitchen Nigel Slater Dish of the Month challenge, , jointly hosted by Sue at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate. Janice and Sue are challenging you to cook a Nigel Slater recipe every month. It will be my pleasure!