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After I made my Amaretto sauce, I had two tablespoons left over.

Hmm. What to do?

The precise sauce remainder got me thinking about my apple cake, adapted from a French recipe which measured in tablespoons. In fact, I’m finding more French recipes which measure in tablespoons. Very easy for men and for those who don’t have a measuring jug. Gentlemen — this is something you and the kids can make for Mother’s Day. (Dad can handle the Amaretto bit!)

This recipe is what I came up with. It’s moist, rich and satisfying without leaving you feeling overly sated. However, as with the apple cake, it’s not a 3-star Michelin cake to serve for appearance’s sake.

Also, although this has Amaretto in it, the alcohol in both the sauce and the cake will thoroughly bake out, leaving a rich almond flavour.

Disclaimer: I have no personal or financial interest in the liqueur connected with this recipe.

My thanks to Dr Gregory Jackson of Ichabod for the graphic.

Churchmouse’s Amaretto cake

(6 servings — 60 minutes, including preparation time)

5 level tbsp soft or melted butter

5 tbsp brown sugar

4 tbsp caster sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp almond essence

1 tbsp ground almonds

4 tbsp self-raising flour

4 tbsp cornflour (corn starch)

2 tbsp of Churchmouse’s Amaretto sauce

1 tbsp of Amaretto

6 tbsp of whole milk

1 medium orange or 1 clementine, sectioned and roughly broken into pieces — no pulp, seeds or rind

Method:

1/ Preheat oven to 350º F (if you’re in the US) or 170° C for fan ovens and 180° C — Gas Mark 4 — for conventional ovens.

2/ Grease and flour a deep-dish pie plate.  Set aside.

3/ Cream the butter and both types of sugar — whisk until the butter is fully incorporated.

4/ Add the almond essence, egg and the bicarbonate of soda, which will help the batter rise whilst baking. Whisk well.

5/ Whisk in the ground almonds.

6/ Begin whisking in the flour and cornflour a little at a time until fully incorporated.

7/ Add the Amaretto sauce and whisk well.

8/ Whisk in the Amaretto and milk, little by little until everything is well mixed.

9/ Add the fruit pieces and stir well.

10/ Pour into prepared pie dish, making sure that all fruit pieces are covered, and place in the oven. Bake for 40 – 45 minutes.  Rotate halfway through.  The cake will become evenly dark brown on top and somewhat bubbly near the edge.  This gives a gentle crunch later on.  The cake is finished when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

11/ Let the cake cool for 45 minutes to an hour.  Cut with a spatula and serve.  The cake crumb should be moist and somewhat pliant. I would not reverse this from the pie dish onto a plate as it is too delicate.  Just serve it as it is.

12/ Serve, if you wish, with vanilla ice cream or crème Chantilly (see below).  Personally, I enjoy eating it as is.  It will keep well overnight — I just place mine uncovered in the oven.  If there’s any left over — which is unlikely — you can gently reheat for 10 minutes or so and it should come out as if it were freshly baked. Place a bit of cling film over the exposed centre of any leftover cake to keep it moist overnight — but be sure to remove it before reheating.

Crème Chantilly

(6 servings — 10 minutes preparation time)

Ingredients:

4 oz. (110 ml) double cream or whipping cream

2 oz. (50 g) caster sugar

1 tsp almond or vanilla essence

Method:

1/ Beat all ingredients with an electric mixer until thick. Be careful not to overbeat or it will turn into butter!

2/ Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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