The kids have loved it. They have kept in touch with the friends they made initially on arriving at their new school and can now speak on any number of 'day to day' matters confidently and - to my ear at least - fluently in Welsh. They correct my own pronounciation of the few words (actually, mainly place names) that I know and attempt, and generally revel in the fact that they know lots about something that the Husband and I know very little about. They have the upper hand and the aren't afraid to use it. Most of the time I am deeply and embarrassingly proud of how well they have done, how hard they have worked, although I'll admit to be occasionally irritated, especially when they have an uncanny knack of talking to each other - and to us - in Welsh, at the dinner table, when the Husband and I are at a low ebb...
Anyway, it's done. They are back in class, in their primary school, for the last week of term, but Pink wanted to take a cake in to the Canolfan y Felin where they have been since Easter, to say thank you to the teachers, and good bye to them and to the other kids. She was very clear that it also had to be dairy and gluten-free to accomodate the various allergies of their fellow welsh language students.
As always in these situations, my first (and only necessary) stop is the lovely Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. It's such a beautiful book and the treats I've baked from it have all been surprising and delicious. Pink went through it and marked the possible cakes that had taken her fancy, then I went through her selection and crossed off a few more (call me a killjoy, but I wasn't going to send her in with just a bowl of 'Naughty Chocolate Icing'), and we came up with this Cherry & Almond Cake.
Like most of the delicacies in the book, there's a vegetable component to the cake - in this cake, 200g of grated potato. Yes. Potato. I'll admit to being slightly alarmed as the whole thing was baking - there was a distinct aroma of chips coming from the oven, but I told myself this was merely an old odour of my many home made oven chip baking sessions, and not the cake...
Anyway, the cake looked wonderful, and cooled down, had no suggestion of chip. I'd hazard that I'd make this again, even if I wasn't catering for allergies and intolerances.
Cherry & Almond Cake
200g glace cherries
3 large eggs
180g caster sugar
200g peeled, finely grated potato
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
150g rice flour, plus 2 tbsp
150g ground almonds
1 tsp almond extract
2 tsp baking powder
good pinch of salt
250g cherry jam
20g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
1 tbsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp cinammon
Grease and line the base of 2 * 20cm loose bottomed cake tins.
Halve the cherries, and toss in the extra 2 tbsp rice flour till lightly coated.
Whisk together the eggs and sugar for a good 5 minutes till very pale and light.
Beat in the potato and lemon zest.
Add the flour, ground almonds, almond extract, baking powder and salt, and combine thoroughly before scraping the mixture between the prepared tins.
Drop the cherry halves over the surface of the mixture so that they sink slightly in.
Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes till golden brown and firm to the touch.
When the cakes are ready to come out of the oven, unmould them onto a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then peel the backing paper off and leave to cool entirely.
Sandwich the cooled cakes together with the cherry jam, then sprinkle the toasted almonds over the top, then sift the icing sugar and cinammon over the top of that.