I told you that when I tasted Ruby Violet’s lemon and cardamom ice cream at Brockley Market I was going to pinch the flavour combination didn’t I? There was something dreamy and faintly exotic about the marriage; sweet, zesty and light with that heady aromatic spice mingling in beautiful harmony. A couple of weeks ago I was taken by the urge to bake something summery and those flavours seemed suddenly perfect.
Initially I’d thought of making something along the lines of an olive oil cake, infusing oil with lemons to convey the fruit element, I made a fab blood orange olive oil and almond cake last year that immediately sprung to mind (must blog that one day). In the end I stumbled across a beautiful looking specimen in Nigel Slaters Kitchen Diaries with orange blossom and orange juice, these seemed to interchange quite nicely with my ingredients so I got stuck in.
Now, I realised my mistake the second I started pouring the batter into a loaf tin. The recipe has little flour and no rising agents, it’s a dense little thing suited to a flat round shape, so a loaf was always going to be rather ambitious. Can I tell you a secret? I think I subconciously did it on purpose. I’m not very good with the thought of hurting cake vindictively, and I had an incling I wanted to something a little filthy with it…
Yup. That cake collapsed dramatically down the middle the moment I tried to turn it the correct way up, creating unrepairable damage. Good. I set about cutting it up into little bite sized chunks, dipped them in a lemony batter and deep fried the blighters.
Oh, and they’re lovely little things. No. They’re not very healthy, but they are quite small, and they deliver a gorgeous lemon and cardamom fragrance that, dare I say it, goes very well with a gin, the filling heats to a molten cakey goo. The pistachios and almonds really work well with the aromatics, I left little nibbly bits of pistachio to add texture, Err, I might not have had much choice in that actually. Failing to have a food processor, I ground the nuts down with a pestle and mortar. You might be better off to save yourself a blistered thumb and do it the easy way.
Adapted from Nigel Slaters lemon frosted pistachio and orange cake.
For the cake:
250g golden caster sugar
75g shelled pistachios ground
100g ground almonds
60g spelt flour
juice of 1 lemon
10 cardamom pods, shells discarded and seeds ground
For the batter:
100g plain flour
squeeze of lemon juice
teaspoon of sugar
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one by one beating after each one to incorporate. Add your ground pistachios, almonds, cardamom pods and lemon juice, finally folding in the flour.
Pour the mixture into a baking tin and bake for around 50 minutes, covering with foil for the last 10. Leave to cool before loosening with a knife and turning out onto a cooling rack.
Heat oil to 180 degrees and whisk your batter ingredients together.
Cut your cake into bite sized chunks. Dip into batter and fry for a couple of minutes until golden.