The first inkling I had that I was expecting the Small Girl all those years ago, was when I couldn’t stop eating strawberries, or indeed strawberry flavoured things. A little like the Hungry Caterpillar, I must have worked my through more than a few punnets of the real thing, along with strawberry ice cream, strawberry cakes, strawberry milk, and those pink wafer biscuit things that we have in the UK. They don’t taste of strawberry at all, but my brain must have just associated anything pink and edible as a must have, and so they got devoured by the packet full as well… Thankfully, unlike the Hungry Caterpillar, I didn’t pupate, but I like to think that eventually I spread my wings as a New Mum, and adapted well. I couldn’t however touch strawberries or anything strawberry flavoured for a very very long time afterwards.
Small Boy was my black cherry baby 12 months or so later. I couldn’t get enough of them. Having piled handfuls of the things into a clear plastic bag in one supermarket, I remember thinking it had been an expensive shop given that I only had a few things to show for it. £18 worth of black cherries will do that. A bit excessive, but at the time I absolutely needed them, and ate most of them in one sitting…
This baby is proving consistent with his/her siblings, and thankfully for me living in a region that does seasonal produce so well, has decided that raspberries are absolutely the thing that its mother must currently eat her own body weight in. I have even tried to convince my lovely friend at True & 12 that they have to make a raspberry sorbet or ice cream soon, but to be honest I am not sure they could make enough…
Imagine my delight then, when Parragon sent me a teeny tiny book called 150 Fast and Simple recipes, and the first recipe I opened the page on turned out to be a Raspberry & Almond cake. This obviously not only had raspberries in, but was super fast to make and baked in around 22 minutes! In fact nearly all of the 150 recipes in the book (ranging from light bites, meat & poultry, fish & seafood, vegetarian, and baking and desserts) have no more than 3-4 stages and take no longer than 15-20 minutes to prepare, which, if you are pushed for time, or in a Hungry Caterpillar stage of your life, is pretty much a perfect addition to any cooks book shelf I think you’ll agree…
Raspberry & Almond Cake Ingredients:
115g Self-Raising Flour (or 115g plain flour with 2 tsp baking powder);
1/4tsp baking powder (if using self raising);
115g softened butter;
115g caster sugar;
40g ground almonds;
175g fresh raspberries;
2 tbsp flaked almonds and 2 tbsp icing sugar for decoration.
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat up. Grease a 23cm/9inch round shallow cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Sift together the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the eggs, butter and sugar and beat with a hand held electric mixer for 1-2 minutes until pale and creamy. Fold in the ground almonds.
2. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Gently level the surface and scatter over the raspberries and flaked almonds. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until risen, golden and firm to the touch.
3. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 1-2 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Serve warm or cold (if it lasts that long), dusted with icing sugar.
Nb. the more observant of you will note that I omitted to use flaked almonds, that’s because I forgot them, but it was still gorgeous!
(I was sent a copy of the book to review. As per usual all opinions are my own).