“Are you game for a different cake this time?” I asked Ro, on the eve of his birthday.“Why not?” he replied. Catering to his specific tastes, I had always made plain cakes with cream and fruits (read Lychee and Strawberry Cream Layer Cake) or Chocolate Cakes with Ganache and exotic fruits for his birthdays in the past.
Once I got my affirmations, my mind set to work. I have always been creating a special cake for him on his special day and I had no mind to break the tradition. But this time I had some limitations. Time was the biggest. I didnt have any on hand to spend hours on an elaborately decorated festive cake. Afterall I have a baby who constantly (read 24 hours) needs my attention.
I had to make a lovely cake with the restrictions and the limitations. I truly adore almonds and decided to make a cake highlighting them, hoping that he would like it too. While deciding on the base cake, I made up my mind to do a cake with condensed milk. A celebration cake without “this can of sweet nectar” is a strict “no, no” for me. Condensed milk adds richness, flavour, taste and gives the best texture to an eggless cake, besides adding the required sweet touch.
This almond cake serves as a beautiful and wonderful dessert, perfect for any special occasion. It looks pretty and doesnt require ample cake decorating skills too. I promise you it is quite easy to put together. Also you can think of various permutations and combinations here. Chocolate Cake with Almond Buttercream Icing or Eggless Almond Cake with Chocolate buttercream frosting are some of the endless possibilities.
Eggless Almond Cake with Almond Buttercream Icing Recipe
Since this cake is soaked with a syrup, it tastes best when chilled. I like to use salted butter for the icing which tastes great, but feel free to use unsalted butter if you dont like to use salted butter.
For the Eggless Almond Cake:
175 gm (1 1/4 cup) plain flour
50 gm (1/3 cup) almonds
1 tin, 400 gm sweetened condensed milk
100 gm (1/2 cup or 1 stick) butter, melted
175 ml ( 3/4 cup or 6 fl oz) water
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pure almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the Almond Buttercream Icing*:
50 gm (1/3 cup) almonds, chopped and toasted in a skillet
100 gm (1/2 cup) salted butter
200 gm (1 1/2 cup) Icing or confectioners sugar
2 to 4 tbsp milk or cream to get the desired consistency
1/2 tsp almond extract
PFor the soaking syrup
1 cup (250 ml) water)
2 tbsp sugar
To make the cake:
Place the almonds In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or an electric coffee mill and pulse until finely ground. It is important not to over grind as you would end up with almond butter instead of almond meal.
Grease and line the bottom of a deep 9” round cake tin with greaseproof paper/baking parchment or butter paper. Alternatively use 2 9” round shallow cake tins and divide the batter accordingly. Preheat the oven at 150 degrees centigrade.
In a mixing bowl, assemble the flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix with a spoon and sieve once to make the mixture uniform. Stir in the almond meal into the flour mixture.
In a large bowl assemble the liquid ingredients the melted butter, condensed milk, water, almond and vanilla extract and using a hand blender beat until well mixed. Add half the flour mixture and beat again. Put in the remaining flour mixture and beat until you get a smooth batter without lumps. Dont over beat the batter as this would interfere with getting a soft cake.
Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes clean.
To make the Almond Buttercream Icing:
In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Put in almond extract and enough milk to get a firm but soft buttercream.
To make the soaking syrup:
In a small saucepan, place the water and the sugar and bring to a boil over a medium flame. Allow to cool.
Assembling the cake:
If you, like me baked the cake in one 9” round deep cake tin then you need to slice the cake into two equal halves.
Place the bottom half of the cake on a serving dish. Pour some of the soaking syrup to wet the cake. Spread 1/4 of the icing and a little of the chopped and toasted almonds over it. Place the remaining half cake over this, pour a little more of the soaking syrup over the cake and spread with the remaining icing. Arrange the remaining almonds decoratively over the cake.
Chill the cake before serving.
Makes one 9" round or 8" square cake
*The icing quantity can be doubled for more elaborate icing.
*Slicing the cake into two halves is optional