Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
150 g (5oz) caster sugar
150 g (5oz) plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
11/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tblsp milk
75g (3oz) butter (melted, plus extra for greasing)
for the topping
50 g (2oz) butter
100 g (31/2 oz) flaked almonds
50 g (2oz) caster sugar
2 tsp plain flour
3 tblsp double or regular cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
23 cm (9in) diameter spring-form or loose-bottomed cake tin with 6cm
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), then grease the base and sides of the cake tin with butter and dust with flour.
If you’re using a spring-form tin, make sure the base is upside down, so there’s no lip and the cake can slide off easily when cooked.
Using a hand-held electric beater or an electric food mixer, whisk together the eggs and the sugar for 5–7 minutes or until thick and mousse-like. Sift in the flour and baking powder and pour in the vanilla extract, milk and melted butter, then fold everything in until combined.
Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out moist but not totally clean, as the mixture will still need another 10 minutes of cooking. Increase the heat to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).
Just before the 30–35 minutes are up, make the topping. Place the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. When it has melted, add the remaining ingredients and bring to the boil, allowing the mixture to bubble away for 1 minute.
After the cake has been cooking for 30–35 minutes, remove it from the oven and spoon the almond mixture evenly over the top. Place it back in the oven and bake for about 10–15 minutes or until the topping is golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
Then, using a small, sharp knife, loosen around the edges and carefully remove the sides of the tin before placing the cake (still on the base of the tin) on a wire rack to cool down fully.
To transfer to a plate, use a palette knife to loosen the bottom of the cake from the tin, then slide the knife under the cake and ease it onto the plate to serve.