I just want to salute my friend B, who has recently met a real-life man in a real-life situation – i.e. in a bar. She didn’t have to resort to using hideous app software a la Tinder or a dating site etc to get together with him. He just wandered up, they got chatting using their actual voices and faces and HURRAH! It’s like the early 1990’s all over again, before most of us even had email. I might have to watch an early episode of Friends to celebrate…
Anyway. Last week I wanted to make an almond cake with peaches in it. I scoured the internet. Nothing really grabbed me, I was harrassed by my kids, and everything looked over-complicated. So I turned to an old faithful – my ‘Moro’ cookbook, by Sam and Sam Clark. They make an amazing ‘Torta de Naranja’ – an almond sponge flavoured with orange zest and syrup. The cake bit without syrup part is so simple – just almonds, eggs, sugar and orange zest. No flour to sift, no having to wait around for butter to reach room temperature. A great cake for the time-starved, such as myself. Since I love peaches morning, noon and night, I thought it would be a great idea to use the almond cake mixture as the base for a peach upside-down cake. I had no idea whether it would work, and no time to dwell on it, with two small midgets kids yapping at my heels. The youngest screamed each time I used the electric whisk. To say I was distracted when I made this is an understatement. And still the cake worked!
Even though the ingredients are few, you cannot do without an electric whisk for this recipe. Just thought I’d warn you. (Unless you have javelin arms like Fatima Whitbread and can use a hand whisk for whipping up egg whites, in which case, go for it…)
Adapted from a recipe by Sam and Sam Clark, from the ‘Moro’ cookbook
You will need:
6 free-range eggs, separated
230g golden caster sugar,
1 tablespoon golden caster sugar for the peaches
230g ground almonds
Finely grated zest of 1/2 orange (optional, as you might just want to focus solely on the peach flavour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium peaches
Preheat your oven to 180C and prepare and line a 23cm spring-form cake tin with grease proof paper.
Wash and slice the peaches, then put them in a bowl with a tablespoon of sugar. Mix around so that all peaches are coated with a little sugar.
Keeping aside a tablespoon of sugar to beat the eggs with, whiz together the sugar and egg yolks until they turn pale. Then add the almonds, vanilla extract and orange zest (if using). Crank up your electric whisk and beat the egg whites with the tablespoon of sugar until they are stiff. Take the egg white mixture and carefully fold it into the almond mixture. The almond mixture is pretty stiff, so use your whisk to beat in the first few spoonfuls of the egg whites, then after that just use a spatula to fold it all together, taking care not to over-mix and lose the air in the egg whites.
You should start with this…
And end up with this:
So now to assemble the cake. Pop the peaches into the base of the lined tin first, and spread them out a little. I put the cake tin in a baking tray, just in case lots of juice ran out of the peaches. But it didn’t:
Then pour the batter over the top. Ready to bake!
Test the cake with a skewer inserted into the middle after 60 minutes. It should come out clean. Take the cake out of the oven and leave in its tin to cool down completely. Then to serve, tip it upside down onto a plate to reveal the peachy surface.
I think this is a pretty good result considering what I was up against during the prep, which means even the most culinary-challenged should be able to breeze through this recipe! Gwan…go and grab some peaches, they’re so very summery hot right now…