Wednesday 21 July 2010

Raspberry and Almond 'Bakewell' Layer Cake

My inspiration for this cake came from Bakewell Tarts. I know this is a somewhat distant interpretation, but that was my starting point. I have a note in the margin of King Richard II to prove it (I know it's criminal to let my mind wander from Shakespeare, but then this is me and cake - sometimes I just can't help it.)

The jam part of the tart was easy - the layers are sandwiched together with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries (I couldn't resist adding them). The cake caused a bit of trouble but in the end I got a sponge that still screamed ALMOND and had that satisfying dampness. I couldn't work out a way to incorporate pastry, except for making a decoration - which I decided against.

Though the original tarts don't have icing, I wanted to use some to get a proper layer cake look. I thought about an almond buttercream or similar, but I really couldn't face it in this summer heat and I also wanted something light to complement the richness of the insides. Whipped cream scented with almond seemed like the perfect answer (and I reckon traditional Bakewell Tarts would be yummy with a dollop of whipped cream on the side).

The first time I came up with a recipe to make this sponge, it was an epic fail. There was a volcano of batter-lava which went all over the oven, it was greasy and basically just plain nasty. I decided to change my base recipe to Delia's All-in-One and thankfully that time I managed to sort it out and they came out really well - light but still damp and with a clear almond taste.

A certain somebody below tried to help me by getting his nose in the way while I was making this. He then had an argument with the sieve and got a good dusting!

It all came together nicely in the end: a clear hit of almond from the cake contrasted with the rich jam and tart berries and lightened by the soft whipped cream which gave off a scent of almond. Perfect for a summer afternoon tea!

If possible, it would be best to make the cake the day before you need want to serve it to let the almond flavour develop. Just pop it in an airtight tin then assemble it when you're ready. Also, try to use a good quality almond essence/oil - it makes a difference.

I made this a 5" cake - if you want to go for a 9", I would just double everything and see how it goes! I really love making small tall layer cakes - I couldn't recommend getting small tins enough (I have 5" and 6" ones from Alan Silverwood - they're on Amazon), especially if you don't have masses of people to feed.

Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake

For the cake:
100g butter
40g light brown sugar
70g caster sugar
2 eggs
100g plain flour
20g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
2-3 drops almond essence

Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease two 5" tins (or one and simply bake one after another). Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour, almonds and baking powder and beat until well combined. Add the almond essence and briefly beat in. Divide between tins and bake on a medium shelf for about 20-25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool throughly.

To assemble:
1 medium punnet fresh raspberries
3 tbsp raspberry jam
200ml double cream
few drops almond essence
small handful of flaked almonds

Slice each cake into two. Place one cake on the serving plate, cut side up (reserve the nicest half for the top - the bottom half is often neater). Spoon on a tbsp of raspberry jam and spread - add more if you think you need it. Reserve a handful of the prettiest raspberries to decorate. Cover the jam with raspberries, slightly squished - you could cut them in half to make them go further and have a neater, more stable cake. Top with another cake and repeat, the another cake and repeat. Place your final cake on top. You may find it useful to use a few toothpicks as dowels to help the structure - just remember to take them out!

Whip the double cream until fairly stiff, then add the almond essence. You could also add a tbsp of icing sugar if you like - I prefer mine unsweetened. Whip a bit more until it forms a good beak when you remove the whisk. Spoon about half the cream on top of the cake, then start working it down the sides with a palette knife.  Add the rest of the cream when you need it. It's difficult to work with and doesn't behave particularly well, but I promise it's worth it. When you're satisfied, top with the reserved raspberries and the handful of flaked almonds. Best eaten the day you put it together because of the cream.

(Serves about 8 or so)


  1. I love anything almond flavored. These sound and look fantastic. I'd never have thought to be inspired by a tart to make a cake.

  2. i love almond in cake, it looks so beautiful with the raspberries bleeding through the layers. love your twist on things. my grandmum's favourite quote was "Things past redress are now with me past care"- from Richard II. x shayma

  3. What a wonderful looking cake (and puppy!)

  4. That was super tasty!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Bookmarked! I love almond and tart fruit together.

    La Petite Gigi

  6. This looks lovely, and perfect for a birthday cake for my mum who loves Bakewell tart!
    (have you tried it with a different frosting, such as a vanilla cream cheese?)
    & A friend recc'd to me putting custard in the layers...
    What are your thoughts?
    Today is the first day I have stumbled upon your blog, and I am SO impressed. It's beautiful and full of delights!
    Thank you for it!
    (from one Emma to another!) x

  7. Loved this! so summery

    thanks for the recipe

  8. oopsy! i seem to have posted the wrong link in my previous comment

    here's the one with the bakewell cake:

    again, cool recipe!

  9. What an incredible looking cake! I'll be making these for my mom's birthday tomorrow. I'll be adding more almond meal and omitting some of the flour. I'm really excited for the outcome!

  10. I hope it goes well! I wouldn't swap too much of the flour for almond in this recipe as it should still be a light sponge (and the almond makes it heavier) and more almonds can make it oily. Do let me know how it goes.

  11. Hey Emma

    Wow what an absolutely talented baker you are ! My husband and I love your work, stumbling across your website makes us feel like we have been let into a number of secret family recipes!. So far I have made the Malteser Layer Cake for a fundraising event at our sons nursery school - big hit ! They still talk about it 8 months later. This time round I have made the Raspberry and Almond Layer Cake for Red Nose Day ! Here is a pic of the attempt ! Shaun :-)

  12. poiresauchocolat14 March 2013 at 20:57

    That looks amazing, Shaun! I love it when people post pictures. I'm so pleased you like the recipes - I think I need to make the Malteser cake again, it's been too long.

  13. I layered the very top with jam ! Doh so it ran through the cream, but I figured for Red Nose Day it might pass! ha. Of all the baking books I have invested in - your recipes come out perfect every time ! True star. Thanks Emma

  14. poiresauchocolat14 March 2013 at 22:18

    That's so sweet, thank you!

  15. Made this cake for my daughters 10th birthday yesterday. It was beautiful - everybody loved it. Thank you. Amazing receipes :)

  16. So pleased it went well! Happy birthday to your daughter.

  17. I made this cake for my birthday this year (together with my man) and we absolutely loved the cake! It was my first ever layer cake and since your recipe is so good, I think it turned out very pretty and tasty!


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