Oh, that Arabella has me worked up! And the fact that I received an email from the Vice Principal of her school (who is also her tutor – no coincidence there), saying she has made a great return to school and appears motivated is hardly enough to soften the blow.
Arabella has it in her head that as it’s her friend’s birthday tomorrow that she should make her a birthday cake and present it to her at school where all the friends can sit around and share it. Great idea it’s just Arabella can’t cook. And she’s not planning a ring-tin packet cake with some frosting roughly applied with a butter knife, no, it’s going to be the toadstool from the Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook. I said, ‘Arabella, that’s a lovely idea but as you have never before made a cake, do you think it would be wise to start with something a little easier like buying a sponge roll from the supermarket and sticking a candle in it?’
‘Oh don’t be silly mum, it can’t be that hard’.
‘I won’t be home to help you. I’m out tonight’.
‘It’s okay mum, the recipe’s got instructions hasn’t it?’
‘When are you going to get it done? You won’t be home from school until five, then you’re having a manicure for tomorrow night’s formal, then isn’t that friend of yours coming over to help you do some fake tanning thing?’
‘Yeah, but I’ll make it after that.’
‘It will be midnight. And you can’t ice a cake straight out of the oven. It has to cool down.’
‘Well I’ll ice it in the morning’.
She has no idea. Like I said, I’m going out and no doubt I’ll come home to some sort of kitchen carnage.
And right now, Archie is home from Uni. He got an early leave-pass. Why? And he gave me no warning of his early arrival. He just marched through the door and yelled, ‘What’s for lunch?’ then announced he was heading to his room to learn two songs but ‘after a feed’. I had to let him know the cupboards were bare as I wasn’t expecting him. He cooked himself some eggs and made an attempt to clean up the kitchen, similar to the attempt he makes to hang up his bath towel, and is now in his room belting out Let Luck be a Lady Tonight.
And with the music it’s stop, start, rewind, start, stop, turn up the volume, turn it off, start again etc. One perfect rendition from start to finish is all I want to hear.
So tonight I’m getting together with some of my family and I promised I’d bring dessert. A few days ago I saw a recipe on Hannah’s Wayfaring Chocolate blog for a gluten-free and dairy-free Almond, Coconut and Raspberry cake. Hannah uses Nuttelex to make this strictly dairy-free but I used butter and I served it with a quenelle of cream so I guess it’s now not dairy-free. To keep it dairy-free, use Nuttelex and serve it with a raspberry coulis and perhaps some fresh raspberries if you can afford them.
- 1½ cups almond meal
- 1¼ cups caster sugar
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g Nuttelex (dairy-free spread or butter if you don't mind if the cake isn't dairy-free), melted and cooled
- ½ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F), lightly grease a 24cm springform pan and line base and sides with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together almond meal, sugar, and coconut.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly whisk in the melted butter.
- Add butter mixture into the almond mixture, stirring until smooth.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, then dot the top with the raspberries.
- Bake 50-55 minutes, until the cake is golden and the top springs back (or, at least, doesn’t feel uncooked) when you press it lightly.
- Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
You can find Hannah’s recipe on Wayfaring Chocolate. Hannah is a very witty and entertaining writer and has recipes you will want to add to your own collection.
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PS: Just home from my night out. The cake was a huge success with everyone in my family wanting a copy of the recipe. I thought I’d overcooked my cake as it appears darker than the cake Hannah made but it didn’t taste overcooked. The cake has a great texture, is very moist and is lovely with the raspberries. I’ll be keeping this recipe!