After a divine and languid lunch at The Crooked Billet (which I highly recommend if you're ever in Henley) we went back into the town centre and walked along the river, finally settling on a spot for birthday cake:
These ended up being more like brownies than cake - easier to transport! - and their gluten-free status ensured they were fudgy and moist. One of my friends is gluten-free so I went back and forth on the cake choice for a while - orange and almond, lemon, apple - but then remembering she also loves chocolate (as do I!) this was the obvious choice! I found a recipe in one of my old Marie Claire recipe books and came up with this version.
If you're after a cake for a special occasion that everyone can enjoy, this is the ticket!
Chocolate and almond cake
Inspired by a similar recipe in Marie Claire real + simple by Michele Cranston
100g dark chocolate
100g butter or dairy free spread
100g caster sugar
150g flaked almonds
2 eggs, separated
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur (or brandy)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 160 C.
Line a 18cm (7 inch) springform cake tin or a similarly sized square tin.
Place the chocolate, butter/spread and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat. Keep an eye on it, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients have melted and combined. Remove from the heat.
While that's going on, place the flaked almonds in a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs. You can have them coarser if you prefer - they should resemble breadcrumbs.
Whisk the eggs yolks together with the amaretto and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Slowly add the melted chocolate mixture and almonds. Mix gently until well combined.
Beat the egg whites to the firm peak stage. Add one spoonful of the egg whites to the chocolate mixture to lighten it, and then fold in the rest. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin. Bake for 35-40 minutes. It should still be a little gooey in the centre.
Cool then dust with icing sugar and cut into slices/squares and serve - preferably on the banks of the Thames with good friends :) You could also serve them as a dessert with ice-cream or cream and strawberries.
And keep them in the fridge during hot weather for extra fudginess :)
What's your favourite gluten-free treat?