Almond Butter Loaf
Although not one of my daily fixtures, I must say that afternoon tea has got to be my favourite meal of the day. More than the process of indulging in its delights (which is undoubtedly enjoyable), the preparation of afternoon tea is what I derive most pleasure from. Delicate cups and saucers, silver-lined, three-tiered trays filled with bite-sized goodies of all kinds, and refreshing teas tend to take me back to a more elegant time when life was slower and meals always meant a chance to socialise and interact with family and friends. Who can’t picture lace, roses, gentle pastel shades, and wonderful aromas upon hearing the words ‘afternoon tea’?
I take great pleasure in sharing a wonderful recipe for almond butter loaves, which would be the perfect accompaniment to a lovely cup of tea in the afternoon. Afternoon tea doesn’t have to be a fancy affair using all your best china; the Queen afterall, is not coming to tea. It should simply be a chance for everyone to slow down in their day, relish their surroundings, indulge their senses and, most importantly, create those little memories that are ultimately what we cherish most.
ALMOND BUTTER LOAF
220g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1 tsp almond extract
220g granulated sugar
150g self-raising flour
75g plain flour
90g ground almonds
10g unsalted butter, softened
100g icing sugar, sifted
2 tsp milk
25g dark chocolate, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour six mini loaf tins or a 19cm square or round cake tin.
2. Cream the butter, almond extract and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat thoroughly.
3. Sift the flour and ground almonds directly onto the egg mixture and beat through until just combined.
4. Spoon into the tin(s) and bake for 30 minutes at 180C, then reduce the heat to 160C and bake for a further 30 minutes or until cooked.
5. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes before placing on a wire rack to cool thoroughly.
6. Simmer water in a small saucepan, and in a heatproof bowl that fits over it, stir together the butter and icing sugar until a paste forms.
7. Add the milk and stir until the glaze is smooth. Drizzle over the cake and allow to set.Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the same pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, place it in a sandwich bag and make a tiny incision at the base of the bag.
8. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the glaze diagonally.