Its spring here in Dunedin & the gardens around town are heaving with blossom. The famous Dunedin rhododendrons are in full swing, along with pristine, snowy magnolias.
For me, spring has arrived when the gorgeous cascades of trailing rosemary, a ubiquitous feature of terraced gardens in this hilly city, explode with flowers; prime real estate for the first bumblebees of the season.
This moist almond cake combines two of my favourite springtime (well, anytime really) ingredients. It’s hard to go past the zingy freshness of lemons, paired with the floral, herbaceous notes of rosemary.
Rosemary ranks amongst my favourite herbs; equally at home in to both sweet and savoury dishes. Without the syrup, this cake is still delicious and moist. The addition of syrup adds another level of complexity and decadence.
If gluten doesn’t agree with you, just make sure you use a gluten free baking powder. This is a completely flourless cake. The recipe is an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s foolproof “Clementine cake”. I have made it sans syrup with other citrus fruits; oranges, mandarins & pink grapefruit. I have been looking forward to trying it with poached Black Doris plums & a star anise syrup; I shall just have to wait for summer… or open a tin!
Almond Citrus Cake with Rosemary Syrup
A dense, luscious cake that can easily be served accompanied with ice cream or creme fraiche as a dessert.
- 375g approx unwaxed lemons (3 medium-sized ones)
- 6 large eggs
- 250g white sugar
- 250g almond meal
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Flaked almonds to garnish.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 sprigs of fresh Rosemary
For the Cake
For the Syrup
- Place lemons into a saucepan of cold water. The water should be deep enough to largely cover the fruit. Bring to a boil & simmer gently for 2 hours.
- When cooled, cut the lemons in half crosswise & remove as many of the pips as you can (a few stragglers won’t matter).
- Preheat oven to to 190ºC (gas mark 5 or 375ºF). Butter and line a 21cm (8 inch) Springform tin.
- Add all cake ingredients (except flaked almonds) into a food processor and process until you have an homogenous batter. Pour batter into the prepared pan & bake for 1 hour (or until a skewer inserted briefly into centre of the cake comes out cleanly). You may need to cover the cake with parchment or foil during the final 20 minutes of baking to stop over-browning the top.
- Remove cake from the oven & allow it to cool in the pan (elevated on a rack). Remove from the tin once cold.
- The syrup can be made well in advance (it will keep up to 2 weeks in a clean jar in the fridge). In a saucepan, boil the water then add sugar. Stir until dissolved.
- Add rosemary sprigs & boil for another minute. Remove syrup from heat & allow sprigs to steep for another hour. Strain the syrup into the storage jar.
- Pierce the top of the cold cake all over with a skewer to create allow the syrup to penetrate. Drizzle with syrup until well covered (you don’t have to use all of the syrup). Cover the top of the cake with slivered almonds to garnish.