Sometimes baking is all the better for a close connection with nature. I remember several years ago, cycling to a nearby farm from my parents’ house to buy duck eggs, then collecting primroses out in the woods to be painted and sugared at home. It was a delicious cake, the duck eggs adding a rich golden lustre to the sponge, so simple yet wonderful.
Although it’s been a while since I last popped out for a walk just because, this Spring the weather has been so glorious that I couldn’t quite help myself. It’s just wonderful to be outside right now. Mossy little dells carpeted with tiny golden and white flowers, violets peeping between hedgerows, and clusters of primroses everywhere.
So really, I just felt like baking something sweetly simple. A citrussy cake, laced with ground pistachios, almonds, drenched in zesty lemon syrup, and finished off with some flaked almonds.
Next time I would put the flaked almonds straight onto the cake before baking, instead of toasting and sprinkling on afterwards.
Lemon, Pistachio and Almond Loaf Cakes
Adapted from River Cafe Cookbook Easy
For the cake:
- 125g lightly salted butter
- 125g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs, lightly whisked
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 20g plain flour
- 50g pistachios, finely ground
- 60g ground almonds
- flaked almonds
For the syrup:
- 30g golden caster sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then gradually whisk in the eggs until completely incorporated. Whisk in the lemon zest and vanilla extract, then fold in the flour and ground nuts until completely mixed in. Spoon the mixture into mini loaf cases and sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake for 25 minutes until golden and springy on top.
Set the cakes aside to cool.
Meanwhile, make the syrup. Combine the lemon juice, zest and sugar into a small pan. Over a medium heat, cook the liquid until it has reduced and become syrupy. Using a teaspoon, spoon the syrup over the cakes.