When I shipped off all my clothes and paraphernalia last week, I have to say I felt very liberated. I did a massive purge of stuff that was past it’s sell by date and bits that I rarely use. I was feeling very Zen and minimalist. This week, however, I began to feel a tad lost and bereft of my things. I was taking photos for the blog on Monday when I realised my camera battery was dying. Not to worry, I thought, I’ll just fetch my spare battery. No, it appears I’ve shipped that. No problem, I’ll just charge this dead battery. No, foiled again, I seem to have shipped the charger too! So, feeling a little dejected I decided to make do with what battery life I had left. I just managed to get three photos taken before the camera died. So it’s been a strange few days, discovering all the things I forgot to keep with me and generally making do with what I can find. I am still happily baking and cooking away and these bakewell squares were a real success. All is took was one bite of these buttery cakes, and I soon forgot all my camera woes. If you are a fan of all things almondy and buttery, you’re going to love this recipe. They are a great little pick me up with a cup of strong tea…now where did I put my cup?
- 225g of white flour
- 1 tablespoon of castor sugar
- 110g of butter
- a teaspoon of water, or just enough to bring it together
- 6 tbsp strawberry jam
- 200g butter, softened
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 medium free-range eggs
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 300g icing sugar
- 3 tablespoons of water
- 15 glacé cherries, sliced in half
To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add a small amount of water, about a teaspoon, and continue to blend until the mixture comes together to form a ball of pastry. Wrap the pastry in Clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile grease a baking sheet (30 cm x 20 cm) with butter. Once the pastry has rested, roll it out on a floured surface. Take the sheet of pastry and fit it neatly into the prepared baking sheet, ensuring to leave a little extra at the sides to allow for shrinkage. Once the pastry is in the baking sheet, spread the jam on top of the pastry.
While you are preparing the filing, you can preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Place the softened butter in a large bowl with the castor sugar. Using an electric hand whisk, beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light and fluffy. Turn the machine off, and add one egg and one heaped spoon of ground almonds. Whisk the mixture again, until the egg and almonds have fully combined. Continue to add the rest of the eggs and spoons of almonds, one at a time, until they are all mixed in. Then, turn off the whisk and add the flour, remaining ground almonds and almond essence. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon. Finally pour the almond mixture evenly over the layer of jam.
Place the cake on the middle shelf of the preheated oven. Cook the cake for 35 – 40 minutes. It should be golden and slightly firm to touch when cooked. Leave to cool in the tin.
Once the cake is fully cool, you can make the icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl. Add the water and stir together. You should end up with a fairly thick icing. Spread the icing evenly over the top of the cake. Garnish with glace cherries and leave to set. Once set, cut the cake into even sized squares.