A Cake For Summer

The first time I tasted this cake was in Geneva, it was baked by my friend Jane. It's now a firm family favourite. The sharp tang of lemons and the distinctive taste of the almonds signals the start of summer for me. I don't have a nice photo of one of the many I have made, hence the random photo of Versoix and Lake Leman. 

Lemon And Almond Damp Cake - From Nigella Lawsons book; How to be a Domestic Goddess

225 g soft unsalted butter
225 g castor sugar
4 large eggs
50 g plain flour
225 g ground almonds
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
zest and juice from 2 lemons

Butter and line a 21 cm springform cake tin. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. When all the eggs and flour have been incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon zest and juice.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour. Cover with foil after about 30 minutes, once the top is lightly browned. The cake is ready when the top is firm, and a skewer, inserted, comes out cleanish - you want dampness, but not gooey batter. Take the cake out and let it stand for 5 minutes or so in the tin. Then turn it out on a wire rack and leave till cool.

The cake lasts well, and even improves, over two days, if wrapped well in foil. Sift icing sugar over the top when serving. It is a very plain looking cake but if you take on board my favourite Nigella serving suggestion, ' I can't help myself murmuring raspberries', it looks positively glamourous.

Bon appetit.

How To Make The Perfect Afternoon Tea.


A generous invitation
One well shod and brave hostess
A secluded and sunny garden
An assortment of friendly and well read guests bearing gifts
Copious cups of tea
A serving of cakes (couture if you can lay your hands on them)
A good book to talk about, I recommend Coco Chanel The Legend And The Life by Justine Picardie (now out in paperback)
* a mystery ingredient.


Combine all of the the ingredients together one at a time. Mix well, once the mixture has relaxed you can add extras such as insightful and interesting facts, thoughts and opinions.  When the mixing has nearly finished it wont harm at all to add some alcohol as a finishing touch. 

* the mystery ingredient supports the main ingredient, ensures the mix stays at an even consistency and can sometimes ensure a better quality photograph once all of the hard work has been done. 

Thank you Justine.

Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and red...

A rainbow I captured in our garden 5 minutes ago, magical.

As I was going to St Ives

..I decided to visit my favourite Tate, the one by the sea.  You are greeted by a huge glass piece in the entrance, it's backlit by the dazzling sunshine.  The colours are like a window looking out onto a world of zingy colours from a flowing white interior.

Then there was Martin Creeds Half The Air In A Given Space, a big hit with the children. Not so much with the adults as it gave them a severe case of 'balloon hair'.

I loved Roman Ondaks, Measuring The Universe.  

When you've finished perusing the culture head to the roof top terrace where the restaurant serves delicious, beautifully presented, locally sourced, fresh food.  Everything tastes better when you don't have to make it yourself, or wash up afterwards but surrounded by blue sky and attentive waiters this was what it must be like to lunch in heaven.  The view's not bad either.

If you are going to St Ives skip the bigamist and check out this summers offerings at the Tate.