Last week at a local second-hand book fair, I unearthed no less than 8 new cookbooks which all
seemed to speak to me in some way and asked (in very polite voices) to come home with me. I’ll be the first to admit it… I struggle with a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookbooks. I’m by no means a hoarder, but some time down the track when I can no longer manoeuvre my way between the kitchen and dining room because of the piles of cookbooks stacked from floor to ceiling (yes, I’ve seen snippets of those reality tv shows), I’ll be asking for your help!
One of the books that caught my eye at the fair was titled ‘The History of Australian Cooking’ and explains the various influences of cuisine that people from other countries and cultures have brought to Australia over the years. An interesting read that also includes a great introduction on the wide variety of native food that Australian Aborigines hunted and foraged for… and in some cases still do…
It was however the chapter on ‘Dutch Treats and Flemish Fancies’ that became the inspiration for my post today. The Kingdom of Belgium is but a small country, nestled in quite snugly on the coastline between France, the Netherlands, Luxemburg and Germany… and for those of us infatuated by all things food around the world, we give thanks to the Belgians for the likes of their delectable chocolate, their wonderful waffles, their pots of deliciously moreish Moules-Frites (Mussels with French Fries)… and not to mention their fabulous array of beers. Perhaps not the most waist-slimming of dishes and drinks to consume on a regular basis, but oh so delicious as a special treat from time to time. The following cake is no exception… it was a little treat for my boys to come home to for afternoon tea today!
Another simple, yet delicious cake to add to the collection… The taste somewhere between a madeleine and a friand.
Belgian Almond Cake (Amandeltaart) | Gather and Graze
- 125g/½ Cup Unsalted Butter (Softened)
- 125g/½ Cup Caster Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Finely Grated Lemon (or Orange) Zest
- 3 Free-Range Eggs (Separated)
- 125g/1¼ Cups Ground Almonds
- 75g/½ Cup Plain Flour (Sifted)
- Icing (Powdered) Sugar (optional – for dusting the top)
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 24cm flan or cake tin.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the lemon zest and one at a time, beat in the separated egg yolks. Remove the mixer bowl from the stand and fold in the ground almonds.
In a separate mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to stiff peaks.
Fold in a third of the beaten egg whites to the butter/almond mixture, then fold in half of the sifted flour. Repeat the folding process with the remaining egg whites and flour.
Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes, until golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.
Allow to cool slightly, before removing from the tin. The Amandeltaart may be served warm or cold (dusted with icing sugar, if you like) and is perfect with a dollop of whipped cream on the side.
- Next time I plan on baking this in a fluted flan/tart tin which will give a prettier edging.
This looks so simple and elegant!
Thank you Mary 🙂
Oh my begin almond hmmmm yummmmilicious. ..
🙂 Thanks so much Chitra!
You said Belgian, you said cake… I think you’ve already said everything! It looks delicious. I love the texture of almond flour, it gives an unique rustic taste.
Thanks for your kind words Margherita. I love baking with ground almonds too – you’re so right, they give such a wonderful flavour and texture!
Nuff said, damn delicious!!!
🙂 Thanks so much!
Margot, this is exactly the type of cake I love. Very few ingredients and light on the sugar. Lemon, almond and butter…I can not think of a better recipe for cake. And I really enjoy a “flatter” style cake like this. I am going to make this today. And how wonderful to have this waiting for your boys.
It’s nothing fancy Seana, but it works for me… another simple little cake to go along with an afternoon cup of tea or coffee. Quick to make, to have on hand if friends are stopping by or for post-school nibbles for hungry school boys 🙂 Hope you’re well and having a lovely weekend.
Haha, I do think that many of us bloggers have a (healthy or unhealthy) addiction to cookbooks! I have heaps of them, the only thing stopping me is the fact that Aaron and I live in a tiny flat and there’s literally no more space for ANYTHING. But with recipe gems like this? There’s really no deterrent to buying more books, particularly at bargain prices…! This recipe is gorgeous! xx
Awww, thanks Laura! We’re reaching the point where we may need to buy another bookcase… or maybe it’s time to go through a stack of our books and decide on whether they should perhaps become someone else’s treasure at the Lifeline Bookfair next year! Especially if I’m only getting inspiration from one or two recipes in there… 🙂 Hope you’re well!
I bet this is just delicious with that almond, butter and lemon zest! A gorgeous combination of flavours 🙂
Thank you Sam! Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 🙂
I have the cake in the oven, ready for the two food critics in my family! It sometimes concerns me that the bar has been set too high in terms of food in our family, however, like you I enjoy it immensely….and the cooking books…..! I love that this cake has only a small quantity of sugar too, that means we can have twice as much!
That’s so exciting to hear – I really hope the critics approve Tania! My two certainly did… and they were demanding it in their lunch boxes the next day, which is always a good sign! 🙂 Such a great day for spending time in the kitchen!
It was yum and half gone within minutes, although there was a comment regarding the height, somewhat lacking compared to yours! Today was a good day for cooking, I just love it when the butter doesn’t take hours to soften!
That’s great Tania… thanks very much for letting me know! It’s certainly not the tallest of cakes and possibly the photos make it look bigger than it really is (not that I use any special/trick cameras! 🙂 ) I made the cake again last night too, though this time used a rectangular fluted-edge tart tin, which made it slightly prettier. I also used raw caster sugar this time and added 100g of raspberries to the mixture (dotted through the middle) before baking – I thought it was great with a little added tartness… but my youngest said he preferred the flavour of the original better… it’s a tough life when these are the issues we’re debating! 😉
I’m ashamed to admit that I have never bought a cookbook in my whole life. Yet, if anyone wants to buy me a present lately, they buy me a cookbook! I wonder why? 😉
I agree with you about the extraordinary beauties we owe to that little European country. Your cake is no exception and it looks delicious!
Thanks so much Francesca! That’s so amazing to hear that you’ve never bought a cookbook… I find it so hard to walk out of a bookshop without one tucked under my arm! You must have so many lovely recipes tucked away in your mind instead! 🙂 Hope you’re having a wonderful week!
It’s so nice to discover a new cookbook with new recipes isn’t it? I am definitely with you in the unhealthy-obsession-with-cookbooks-camp. There is should be a club – there probably IS one. Or a rehab, maybe?!
This caje looks delicious – just my thing, lemony and almondy and every good thing!
See what thinking about cookbooks has done to me? I can’t even type properly! I mean “cake” of course. What’s caje when it’s at home?
Hehe… perhaps we should form a club – Cookbook Crazy Anonymous!? I guess there could be worse things to be obsessed about in the world… 🙂 Thanks for your lovely comment Trix!
Oh I’m a cookbook collector as well – it’s so hard to resist them! All of those beautiful photos and the recipe inspiration! This cake looks delish!
Thanks Gab! I’m slowly working my way through my cookbook collection, placing tabs on the recipes that I want to make… thought it was a good idea, but has left me a little daunted at how many coloured tabs I see sticking out the top of my books now! Then there’s all my bookmarked recipes… and then pinterest too… Aaaaah!!!! 🙂
Oh I do that as well – I end up with more tabs than not! And pinterest is so dangerous! My boards are full of good intentions and great inspiration haha.
Some of the best food I’ve ever had was in Belgium, all three times I’ve been there. The quality is awe inspiring. Similar to Austria, from the little I know of Julie-land! Will have to try this. Anything with almonds. And I do have a nice baking tin with a removable base – at last. And it doesn’t leak. Unlike the two springforms I probably will never use. You and your cookbooks, me with kitchen stuff. 🙂
I’ve only ever been to Bruges in Belgium, but absolutely adored the small amount of time we spent there. Fond memories of the food (and beer) as well…
What’s happening with your 2 springform tins? Mine have leaked once or twice, but I mostly bake things like cheesecakes in them these days (which have the outer biscuit crust to keep it all contained). Though, I did bake this particular cake in a springform… the batter is quite thick, so no problems at all with any leaking. Give it another try perhaps??
Lovely to see your website building Johnny! 🙂
The new cake tin I’ve bought doesn’t leak at all. Even with water poured into it. The springforms will hopefully come in useful for cheesecakes, so I won’t be chucking them. Funny thing is, when I was rummaging for something else earlier this evening I noticed a loaf tin with its price still on it! Okay, bought at sale price. But seriously, just how much bakeware do I need?! And thanks, re website. Just spent the last two days baking pumpkin pie – delicious stuff.
You and me with the cookbook fascination. I love finding cookbooks at book fairs or stoop sales or at the bookstore, The cake sounds wonderful, I am a fan of both madeleines and friands so I think I would really enjoy this!!
So happy to know that you relate to this Suzanne! Isn’t it wonderful flicking through old (and new!) cookbooks, looking for recipes that speak to you in some way! Such a pleasant way to while away an hour or two… 🙂 I found the cake to be really quite similar in texture to a madeleine, but with the flavour (coming from the ground almonds) of a friand. I’m imagining that a scattering of fresh (or frozen) raspberries through the batter would work quite well too. Mmm, next time! Hope you’re having a great week.
This looks delicious – I’ll have to give it a try!
Thank you Elizabeth, love to hear your thoughts if you give it a try! Cheers, Margot
Hi Margot, I did indeed try it although with a couple of changes. I only had granulated and not caster sugar and my almonds were not very finely ground. However it came out fine and really tastes good. I put a photo of the finished item on this weeks blog and linked back to your recipe.
That’s fabulous Elizabeth, thanks so much for letting me know how it went! The original recipe in the book called for the almonds to be blanched, skinned, toasted and finely chopped… so I’m sure it wouldn’t have mattered at all if they weren’t finely ground. The photo looks fabulous on your blog! I’ll come across in the next day or two to better explore your blog – it looks really wonderful from what I could see. Cheers, Margot
Thanks Margot, as you can probably see from the photo my almonds weren’t skinned either. I may have made a more rustic version but at least the recipe is sound and can take some variations – I just had another slice with a cup of tea 🙂
Margot, a beautiful treat for your boys 🙂
Oh Linda, you should have seen how their faces lit up when they saw it on the kitchen bench! It’s why I love cooking/baking so much! 🙂
It look delicious =)
Thanks very much – we certainly enjoyed it!
Thanks Carly 🙂