Surprise this week - not a savoury dish! We have a two-legged mouse in this house (I'll call him 'Leonardo') who is partial to cake - although I don't bake really regularly as Leonardo can't leave baked goodies alone :) But, earlier this week, on a dull and quite cold day, I decided that we needed the smell of home baking wafting around the house. Some kind bloggy friend did remark that she thought you baked to eat the results, not for the smell - err, good point there:)
175g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 medium eggs, beaten
100g chopped or flaked almonds
200g self-raising flour, sifted
100ml semi-skimmed milk
Juice of half a lemon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, Gas Mark 4.
Grease a 12 x 22cm (2lb) loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until fluffy. Gradually add the eggs. Stir in the sultanas and half the almonds. Fold in the sifted flour.
Pour in the milk and lemon juice, stirring gently until a dropping consistency is achieved. Spoon the mixture into the tin and smooth with a wet spoon.
Top with the remaining almonds and bake in the oven for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the tin slightly then turn out onto a cooling rack and remove paper. This is also delicious served with custard or creme fraiche.
Things I do: even though I use non-stick bake ware I would still line the tin for this recipe, mostly as it makes for less washing up. Lakeland Limited sell some loaf tin liners in both 1lb and 2lb sizes, amongst all sort of other cake tin liners and they're great. They come in packs of 40 and I expect other places also sell them.
This is the first time I'd come across the tip to smooth the top of a cake with a wet (metal) spoon, and it worked a treat! Where have I been all this time?
I used large eggs and fully skimmed milk 'cos that's what was to hand. It's the first time I've tried this particular recipe and another time I might change it slightly. A few more sultanas might be good and I'd put more of the almonds actually into the mixture (two thirds to three quarters, reserving the rest for the top. You can see from the photo how the top of the loaf is quite loaded with half the almonds.
I also hide the thing in a secret place if it isn't to disappear in double quick time - but I can't tell you where, just in case Leonardo hops in here for a look :)