Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Easy Almond Cake

Servings: 12
"This cake isn't baked in a loaf pan but in a ring mold, preferably in a patterned one; and it's a plain cake only in the sense that it isn't filled or iced (though feel free). It's densely almondy and eggily intense. And you know how you make it? You buy a block of ready-made marzipan and put it in the preocessor along with eggs, flour, sugar, butter and a sprinkle of extract and blitz.

You could easily use a plain cake pan for this cake but I always use my springform tube pan (not hard to find) because the particular scent and delicacy of this cake make it perfect for a dinner-party dessert with a few raspberries in the middle, a few more scattered around the edge, and a light dusting of confectioners' sugar. When we cooked it for the picture, we couldn't find the right pan (losing essential items is something of a specialty of mine), plus some of it stuck to the pan we did use. I could have made it again, but I didn't want to, because these things happen to all of us and I wanted to show it wasn't the end of the world. True, you don't see the moldings as well as you might, if at all, but a quick bit of patching and some judicial sifting with sugar and it looked fine. Life isn't lived in a lab.

One gentle reminder here: you just will not get the marzipan to ooze into the cake batter if it starts off ice cold. In dire straits, I have cubed it and given it a quick whirl in the microwave. And if you wanted to replace the vanilla extract with the zest on an orange, I wouldn't mind in the slightest."..............Nigella Lawson

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons softend unsalted butter
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons softened marzipan
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon almont extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 cup self-rising cake flour

You will need:
1 (one)10-inch springform tube pan or patterned ring mold, buttered and floured

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Chop the butter and marzipan to make them easier to break down, and put them in the bowl of the food processor, fitted with the metal blade, with the sugar. Process until combined and pretty well smooth. Add almond and vanilla extracts, process again, then break the eggs one at a time through the funnel, processing again each time. Mix the flour and tip down the funnel, processing yet again, and then pour the mixture into the prepared pan, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Bake for 50 minutes, but check from 40. Then, when the cake looks golden and cooked and a cake tester or fine skewer comes out cleanish, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan before turning out. (This is when you will be feeling grateful if it's the springform you're using.)

Makes: 12 servings.

SOURCE: How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson, Petrina Tinslay (Photographer) Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (November 2001)

Date: March 23, 2003