Auntie Dote’s take on Mrs Beeton’s Almond cake – No Flour!

Yesterday morning I was having a foodie chat with the lovely Jane Ruffino (@janeruffino) about the fact that I’m working on a recipe for a flourless cake for her but that it’s not quite right just yet. Comes in @auntiedote with this wonderful recipe! It really does look worth the effort! Thanks Auntie Dote!
“This recipe of Mrs Beeton’s caught my eye a couple of years ago when I went wheat-free.  Unusually, for her, the quantity is enough for a small layer cake or large single – and not, as was her wont, enough for a banquet of 50.

Baking without wheat flour is tricky, since wheat flour naturally provides the fluffy & more-ish properties that make cakes & breads so palatable…

When dispensing with flour, the only way to achieve a pleasant, light & tasty effect is to pay close attention to technique.  So the recipe below is footnoted… those who understand the techniques can get straight into it, while newbies might want to read the expanded footnotes first.  Paying attention to technique will pay off in the final result.
You will definitely be glad of a modern electric whizzer. 

200 gm butter

200 gm sugar
6 eggs
100 mls cream (OR 2
       more eggs)
tsp vanilla (or even two)
200 gm ground almonds
100 gm rice flour
pinch of salt (or even two)
extras, if wanted:
-grated lemon rind (as much as u can get off a lemon)
– an apple, plus sprinkling of brown sugar & cinnamon
icing (if wanted):
200 gms cream cheese
2-3 tablespoons sour cream
1-2 tablespoons orange juice
1. Pre-heat oven to 150 deg C or equivalent.*
2. Cream (whizz) together the butter & sugar til fluffy.**
3. Separate eggs, set whites aside.***
4. Add yolks & vanilla to batter & whizz again til fluffy.
5. Add cream (if used) to batter & whizz again til fluffy.
6. Mix ground almonds, rice flour, salt & lemon peel (if used) separately & then add to the batter bit by bit, whizzing again until fluffy.
7. Important! wash whizzer blades now!
8. Use CLEAN whizzer to whizz whites of eggs until stiff ****
9. Use a spoon (not the whizzer) to gently mix the stiff egg whites through the batter until smooth.
10. Prepare cake tins to be “non-stick” with a layer of butter, overtopped with a sprinkling of rice flour.*****
11. (optional) cover one or both tins with a layer of sprinkled brown sugar, cinnamon, sliced apple, brown sugar, cinnamon.
12. Spoon batter into tins & place in pre-heated oven. Check after 1 hour, using toothpick test… bake time may vary… whem toothpick comes clean, take out & cool. Decorate. Eat.
Today I’ve made an icing by whizzing together cream cheese, sour cream & orange joice…
* Mrs Beeton used a number of terms to describe her wood oven – deciding what a “good” oven meant in temp terms, took a bit of experiment.  150 – 160 deg C seems about right.
** Really pay attention here… a crucial step… you MUST use the whizzer to mix the butter & sugar until fluffy & light.  There will be a couple of min where lumps of butter want to fly out of the bowl & a later minute where the mix clumps up in your whizzer blades, but persevere…
***In separating eggs, there is no problem if a bit of white sticks to yolks, but  it is essential that not even a bit of yolk gets into whites. If you crack & handle the eggs gently, the yolks won’t break as you pass it from one half shell to another, letting whites drip into the mixing bowl for setting aside. If a bit of shell falls in, use a bigger bit of shell to fish it out.
**** Egg whites go through stages when whizzed, but to qualify as “stiff” you need to be able to leave tracks in them that don’t go away… And mixing egg whites into the batter without using the whizzer means you keep some of that fluff for later.
***** The old style of “non-sticking” pans has never failed me, but there is a knack. First use your (clean) fingers to liberally apply butter, and make sure it covers everywhere with no gaps. Then (no more fingers!) sprinkle some flour (I used rice flour here)… into the pan. Pick up pan & tap it & move it til flour has touched & stuck to every bit of butter. That’s it. “
I will let the pictures Auntie Dote sent us do the rest of the talking!
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