Have been off blogging for a long while thanks to not having a laptop...Now I've finally got one so here I come. Lots and lots of posts have been revolving in my head for ages...
One of the first things a resourceful and experimentative cook needs to learn is the fine art of 'jugaad'. Jugaad is an Indian term signifying street smarts - the art of using what resources you have at your disposal and accomplishing what you need to accomplish, without waiting for the perfect solution to present itself.
Recently A's birthday came up and I had had no time to preplan what I was going to do that day. A is not a chocolate cake fan, unless it's a special recipe, like my Chocolate Chestnut bombe, or the Chocolate fondant cake, so I racked my brains to come up with something he would like that would be interesting to make too. I had also been pondering my stash of frozen raspberries for a while, wanting to find something evocative to do with them.
As it turned out, I found a wonderful recipe for Almond Cake in Nigella Lawson's How to be a domestic goddess. It uses a cup of almonds, blitzed into powder, with eggs and sugar. It's typically made in a bundt pan, so the shape itself looks festive.
Simple: Beat together 4 egg yolks with 1 cup caster sugar. Add vanilla and the powdered almonds. Beat the whites until stiff and fold in. Bake in a nonstick bundt pan for one hour at 160 degrees centigrade (keep an eye on the cake while it's baking as each oven is a little different).
Well, at least that's what I thought. So I beat the yolks and whipped the whites and folded away and set it to bake. About 50 minutes later the cake was done, so I set it out to cool. Only to find that once cool, the cake simply would not emerge from the pan in one piece. Of course, I hadn't happened to have had a nonstick bundt pan so I had used an ordinary round pan copiously lined with wax paper, but given the moist and sticky nature of this cake, that didn't work. I might add, I had substituted powdered ordinary sugar as I was out of caster sugar - I am not one of nature's planners...
So here I was with great hunks of a sticky cake - not festive looking! Now what to do? The the thought of the raspberries jumped into my head and I decided to make a jugaad version of English trifle, with cream and raspberry sauce.
I took out my Spanish red and gold glass bowl and tossed a few hunks of almond cake into the bottom. Then I topped it with lightly sweetened beaten light cream and topped it with raspberry sauce, made by whipping defrosted raspberries with a little sugar, as the rasps were a little sour. I carried on layering until all the cake, cream and rasps were used up and chilled it until the rasp sauce was well set.
It turned out to be a fabulous concoction, with the sour-sweet raspberry sauce cooled by the whipped cream providing a lovely contrast to the sweet and moist cake. What do you think?