Cakes need precision. Although I rarely use scales, they come out in a baking moment. Still, as long as you have the basic riff down – such as the proportion to eggs to sugar to butter to flour – there’s some room to improvise.
My sister and her partner came for dinner on Saturday and I was visited by a vision of an almond and chocolate cake. (Mercedes was out of town so no chance of her faultless recipe.)
I alighted on a recipe from the internet, and another one from a back issue of Olive magazine. But oh. One recipe was in ounces, the other in grammes. And I am numerically challenged.
On top of which we all got soaked in the blustery rain which meant I had to lie down on our return. When I regained consciousness, I had 40 minutes to make dinner for four and whip up my almond vision.
I kept trying to talk myself out of attempting a cake under such circumstances. But I wouldn’t listen. While the brown rice was cooking, spinach steaming, sweet potato and coconut simmering and sunflower seeds roasting, I broke two eggs in a bowl and started whisking.
No turning back now. I was committed. The Olive magazine recipe said 2 eggs go with 90g of butter, 200g of chocolate, 55g of sugar and 150g of ground almonds. After that I was on my own.
The scales were the sort that helpfully mark weights like 200g with a bold black stripe but leave the lesser 50g ones to your imagination.
I folded in the ground almonds, the raw chocolate, the melted butter (I thought I’d better melt something), the chopped berries and ginger into the eggs, whisked, with an invented amount of rapadura sugar.
My cake tin was too large so I filled it with water and placed a smaller one inside it. I forgot to grease the smaller one or the knowledge that cake tins are not watertight. I gave my concoction 30 minutes in a Gas Mark six oven and served it with local organic clotted cream from the other wonderful organic shop in my life, Marshford, in North Devon.
And miraculously, the cake was a winner. The combination of crunchy raw cocoa, goji berries and ginger was exotic. (Although a less hot oven might have made the almonds moister).
Synchronistically, on the same day, a fellow food blogger was making a similar cake, whose recipe I most heartily commend.