You may have already got this impression from a couple of previous posts (e.g. here and here), but I LOVE making cakes for birthdays. Most of the time there’s this expectation that you will aspire for ‘elegance’ or ‘sophistication’ in your cakes. On birthdays, conversely, you have every right to go a bit bonkers and make something huge, thoroughly inelegant and ridiculous.
…not quite what you were expecting after the last paragraph? This is the part where I mention that this particular cake was made for my Dad’s birthday. Dad’s birthday always causes somewhat of an inner turmoil for me – instinctively, I start mentally planning something wild, bright and enormous until I remember that my Dad doesn’t really like cake. He doesn’t really like anything that’s too sweet. Brace yourselves for the next bit.. he doesn’t even get excited when I proffer the bowl of leftover cake mix. SOMETIMES HE EVEN REFUSES THE CAKE MIX.
So, despite myself, I made something small and grown-up tasting. Any other occasion I’d have been dead pleased with this, it was super moist and delicately nutty, perfect for elevensies with your cup of coffee. But not for a birthday; I must say the candles looked distinctly bizarre protruding from something so demure.
Hey-ho, will definitely make again! Gluten- and lactose-free as standard 🙂
- 250g Stork, plus extra for greasing
- 225g caster sugar
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 scant teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 110g blanched almonds
- 110g shelled pistachios (I left the skin on but you can rub these off after roasting if you so desire)
- 50g gluten-free flour
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon almond/non-dairy milk (if required)
For the topping:
- 50g shelled pistachios (again, skin on or off, tis up to you)
- 50g caster sugar
- grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan
- Place the almonds and pistachios on a roasting tray with plenty of room, and roast for 5-10 minutes until lightly brown and fragrant, checking frequently so as not to let them burn, and let cool
- Grind the cooled roasted nuts in a blender until fine (not as fine as flour – just until the texture you’d get ready ground almonds at)
- Reduce the oven temp to 180°C/160°C fan, and grease and line a 9″ cake tin
- Using an electric whisk on medium, beat the Stork and sugar together until light and creamy
- Mix in the lemon zest and vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
- Carefully fold in the ground nuts, flour, baking powder and salt
- Fold in the 1 tbsp milk if you think the mix looks a bit stiff (I did add it in but not all gluten-free flours swallow up the same amount of liquid)
- Transfer the mix into your prepared cake tin and bake for about 40 – 50 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
- Allow to cool completely in the cake in the tin
- To make the topping, heat the sugar, lemon zest and juice in a saucepan over a gentle heat until melted and combined
- Add the pistachios and continue to heat until the nuts are completely covered in the syrup
- Pour over the cake, trying to arrange the pistachios a wee bit more artfully than I did..
- Serve to your discerning fathers.