A few weeks ago, in McG with the nieces, nephew, pal of same and dogs: I decided to make a cake. “Are you sure”, said Jasper, “they take up so much time and don’t always come out so good”. “Aha”, I said, “you are not wrong there – but this time I am going to literally throw it all together and not worry too much. And see how that turns out.” Hannah looked at me sceptically: “Throw it together? Are you sure? Do you even have all the ingredients….” I was and I did. I showed them the recipe …”noooo”, they grumbled, too complicated. “Make it anyway”, said pal Kyra. “I’ll eat it”.
The recipe came from my new favourite magazine. It’s a bit out of the norm as it is one that you download as a pdf rather than one of the mega corporation titles with bells and whistles. But I am ok with that. I first discovered “Sweet Paul” on a Pintrest board, and followed along online for a while until I give in and bought their very affordable annual subscription. Now I get an issue a season, full of great things to eat and make. Not that I am diy by nature, but it’s fun to pretend to myself that I could (but never will) create all our Christmas decorations. If I had to compare the magazine to anything I would say it’s like discovering a carefully curated, beautifully put-together, food and handicraft market full of interesting ‘wish I had thought of that’ stalls, in a small town on a fresh water river. With lots of cocktails. There are no barbs and spurs or pain in the ass pretensions. It’s … well… sweet. And I like it a lot.
The cake I made that weekend wasn’t the first recipe of Paul’s I had tested. The guys from NYC’s Big Gay Ice-Cream came up with a Nutella decadence for the summer issue that was a knockout. Hannah and I added dark chocolate to take the edge off the Nutella’s sweetness, which gave the ice-cream an adult depth. sofabrother and I ate the lot in two sittings (and I’ve been wondering how I put on 10lbs) – leaving my niece none too pleased. A remake for the summer I think.
Both recipes were easy to handle and worked perfectly. I am tired of making things that under-deliver – only to do research afterwards and find that I am not alone with the flop. These are real recipes for amateur cooks.
I’ve used Sweet Paul’s picture of the finished cake here – mine looked great too, pretty much exactly like this – but a bit of the praline on the top burnt – proving my theory that my oven has hot flash issues. So, it just didn’t look as pretty as it deserved to. But pic of the slice and the girl are both home grown. And Miss Kyra didn’t lie, she did eat it: con gusto.
Sweet Paul’s Salted Almond Praline Cake
You will need:
for the cake:
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
for the topping
1 1/2 cups almonds, sliced
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
flaky sea salt
- Preheat oven to 340F/170C
- Place the almonds on a baking tray and toast them golden, about 10 minutes. Cool.
- In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until light and creamy.
- Add vanilla, butter, milk, flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.
- Pour into a 9″/22cm well-buttered cake tin.
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.
- 10 minutes before the cake is done, place butter, sugar, and milk in a pot and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 5 minutes then add the almonds.
- Spread the almond mixture on top of the cake, even it out with a spatula, and sprinkle with some flaky sea salt.
- Set the oven to 400F/200C and bake the cake for another 10 minutes. The top should be bubbly and golden.
- Cool on a wire rack. Use a very sharp knife to cut around the edge of the cake before it’s cold, as the praline top sets very quickly.
(Photograph of cake, Nutella Ice-cream and Magazine Cover by Paul “Sweet Paul” Lowe – I don’t think he would mind us using them, find his website here. Other photos copyright campari&sofa. This post isn’t sponsored in anyway. I am just a fan.)