Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Chocolate Rasbperry Almond Cake amid the chaos

My weekend was full of good food, good fun and some surprises.  I had the pleasure of an unexpected evening swim on Sunday after a day with my family.  Unfortunately not all surprises were so lovely.  On Saturday night as I was heading to bed, I discovered that the cake that had gone in the oven after dinner was still there.

Another vexatious discovery was that Sylvia was fond of picking the first camelia flowers of the year.  Fortunately there are quite a few flowers appearing so she can't keep up!  I enjoyed my Saturday with a visit to Little Deer Tracks (the menu is much changed since last visit and the portobello mushroom burger was not to my liking but most probably would have appealed more if I hadn't slept in and had a late breakfast) and a new television.

Some of the blame for the overcooked cake might rest with the new telly.  When the timer rang, the cake was slightly undercooked so I returned it to the oven for another 5 minutes and set the timer.  I had forgotten that the timer doesn''t ring if just set for a few minutes.  Not good when I was fixated on a new telly that seemed like a miracle after weeks of being unable to watch our favourite channel (the ABC).

The first cake I had made was inspired by Choclette's Raspberry Chocolate Polenta Cake.  I used passionfruit chocolate instead of raspberry chocolate but liked the idea.  I have made a very similar Chocolate Polenta Cake in the past that was too grainy.  This was the case again with the overcooked cake.  We gouged out some of the middle for breakfast.  I hope to return to it some day but when I have found some fine cornmeal.

I had made the cake the previous night when Sylvia was in bed.  But on Sunday morning I decided I couldn't take the cake to the family lunch as intended so I would just have to make another.  With Sylvia!  It was a chaotic morning.  I scanned more recipes while eating chocolate cake for breakfast.  I decided I really wanted a chocolate raspberry cake and it was to be gluten free so everyone could eat it.  Apparently this wasn't everyone's cake of choice.  As we drove to the supermarket, Sylvia was on her toy phone to my mum asking her to make a white sugar cake.

The cake I chose to make was inspired by Lucy's Chocolate Apricot Cake.  I was emboldened by her sense of adventure in substituting apricots for orange in Nigella's Clementine Cake.  I couldn't find a recipe for my vision so I decided to follow Lucy's lead and substitute raspberries.  As you can see, the mixture was very very red.  Sylvia took charge of the food processor, which at least delayed the latest camelia flower being plucked from its branch.

Once the cake was in the oven, we watered the garden, Sylvia picked another flower, we laughed at Zinc sitting on the windowsill in the bedroom looking out at us, then we squeezed the juice of the zested orange to drink and ate the remaining half-frozen raspberries from the packet.  The cake was still quite warm when I wrapped it in a teatowel and we headed off to Geelong for our family lunch.

The lunch was the last with my sister and her family before they headed back to Ireland.  My mum served a wonderful baked eggplant and tomato dish, as well as roast potatoes, salad, and pastisti.  I took down a bag of edamame.  Sylvia adores it and it is such an easy nutritious snack for her.  Dessert was a great spread of pavlova (you can see from the top photo that Sylvia loves this too), mango cheesecake, fruit salad, sponge cake and my chocolate cake.  

The chocolate raspberry almond cake went down well.  It was eaten in small slices with cream because it was very rich.  I found it quite light - almost mousse-like - and more fruity than chocolatey.  It wasn't all eaten at the dinner and I think it was better later in the day when it had settled and was less fragile.  If I would to make it again, I would be tempted to try 5 rather than 6 eggs and some melted chocolate to give it a firmer texture.  But I think my preference would be to find a good sturdy chocolate cake with studs of raspberries through it.  If only I had more time to experiment.

It was a lovely day with the family.  After lunch was a family photo and then E got out his ukelele and jammed with my niece Quin on piano accordion in the garden while Sylvia and Dash played with hoops and Maddy did gymnastics on the grass.

We made a last minute decision to stay in Geelong so that Sylvia and Dash could go for a swim at the local pool together.  This meant we had dinner at my parents' place and got home rather late. It was worth it to see the two cousins swimming together and so gorgeous to watch them giggling at each others jokes.  They loved sharing their own three year old perspectives on the world.  We were sad to see Chris, Fergal and Dash go home.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Marzipan choc chip cookies
This time two years ago: Butterscotch Bounty from Ricki
This time three years ago: Easter Nut Roast and Feasting
This time four years ago: Family Favourite: Chocolate Pudding

Chocolate raspberry almond cake
Adapted from Kitchen Maid and food.com

250g caster sugar
200g almonds
375g raspberries
50g cocoa
6 eggs
zest of half an orange
icing sugar and cream, to serve

Blend all ingredients in food processor, scraping down the sides a couple of times as necessary.  Pour into greased and lined 22cm round cake tin and bake at 180 C for about an hour.  It is done when a skewer comes out clean but I found I also needed to check that the middle sprang back when a finger was gently pressed on it.  Cool in the tin.  (NB My cake had a big crack in it.)  Dust with icing sugar and serve with cream.

On the stereo:
The Music of Ennio Morricone (free CD in The Sunday Times)

18 comments:

  1. Oh how hectic! And such a contrast to my relaxed weekend, which makes me realise how fortunate I am to be able to take hours to myself rather than entertain a small child who wants to pick all flowers in sight and be involved in all kitchen activities! At least you had fun with the family and this second cake turned out well - chocolate raspberry is one of my absolute favourite combinations.

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    1. Thanks Kari - yes even my most relaxed weekends are spent running around after sylvia a lot - but at least when I spend time with the family there are lots of others to look out for her

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  2. I think this cake looks and sounds lovely. It is so easy to forget about things in the oven when you have a lot going on, so you are not alone there. Glad you all had a good visit to Geelong.

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    1. Thanks Cakelaw - yes all too easy to forget - usually my oven timer keeps me on track but not always

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  3. Oh my gosh, take out the almond and this is perfect, perfect, perfect for my family! I also love that it uses cocoa instead of actualy chocolate. Bookmarked!

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    1. Thanks Hannah - if you took out the almond maybe you might need butter for a bit of structure but would be interested to hear if you try it

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  4. I often make this cake the original way and find it better after sitting for a day. Not thought of using other fruit in place of the oranges though. Love your idea with the apricots!! Must try that sometime. Might try peaches too, as fresh apricots are like gold dust round here :)

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    1. Thanks Katie - I think peaches would be equally interesting in this cake - maybe even better - Lucy of KitchenMaid used tinned (stewed) apricots so those might be easier to find than fresh if you wanted to try them

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  5. Hehe Johanna I had to laugh at the second pic of the flower and the kitty cat looking at it! :P Is that one of Sylvia's toys or a garden decoration?

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    1. Thanks Lorraine - the kitty cat was in the garden before sylvia but she is rather fond of it

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  6. It sounds like you have been having a wonderful time. The cake is very similar to the one I made on Sunday for Clndestine Cake Club, except I topped mine with creme fraiche and topped it with a mountain of raspberries :)

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    1. Thanks Jac - I was very interested in your cake because it seemed so similar to the one I had just made - unfortunately raspberries aren't in season so I felt it was be too decadent to top with fresh ones - and while we have lots of great fruit in Australia - the berries in Scotland are just amazing

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  7. I can be really absentminded so one of my biggest fears is that I'll put something in the oven and forget it! Sounds like this cake was delicious nonetheless!

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    1. Thanks Joanne - oven timers are for the absent minded - I get worse and worse at remembering things in the oven

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  8. Ah sorry the polenta cake didn't work out for you - it's so frustrating when cakes get overcooked because there is very little you can do to rescue them. I use fine polenta, but there is still a bit of texture there - it's not at all like using flour. But I quite like that. I'm just going back to my post to see if I stated fine polenta & if not add it! Like the sound of passionfruit chocolate. Thanks for the link.

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  9. hi choclette - no need to apologise - I should have known as I have made this cake many years ago - I have now bought some maize flour and want to try the recipe again and see how it turns out (I am sure you wrote fine polenta in your recipe but I can gloss over details in favour of what is in the pantry)

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  10. What a-beautiful, rich & dense chocolate & raspberry cake! It just looks stunning & must tastes divine too! :)

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    1. Thanks Sophie - it did look impressive

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