Catalan Salt Pinch Cake
I now know why this is called a Pinch Cake - because you can't cut it neatly. My parents will be surprised to hear that I do have *some* deeply ingrained table manners - I was horrified at the idea of pinching of a wodge of cake to then stuff in my mouth. Could you have more than one wodge? Or was that akin to a Seinfield double dip?
Anyway, enough amateur psychoanalysis, how about some amateur baking instead? This was a pretty easy cake to make, with thankfully no icing! Toast and grind some almonds, make a meringue with sugar and almonds and then beat in small amounts of egg until you think you will lose your mind. Actually, it wasn't that bad but twenty minutes does allow for alot of thinking. Most of it along the lines of ... "Surely it wouldn't make any difference to add all the egg at once and beat for twenty minutes." and after twenty minutes of the same thought, as I carefully dosed in two tablespoons every two minutes, I did feel perilously close to insanity.
The resulting cake took an age (forty minutes or so) to bake - but I think that was because I didn't cut the parchment collar down to size. That minute I saved in prep time cost me about ten in baking time. I will now have to plant another tree to offset the carbon footprint of my laziness.
My cake did dip a little in the middle - probably more than in Rose's fabulous picture, although not quite enough for me to resort to weeping. I think I may have slightly undercooked this cake (I seem to be repeating that quite a bit - over/undercooked each week). Although my cake tester came out dry, the cake emitted a mushing noise when I touched the top. Even now, the day after, still that same mushing sound. This may be the reason it is such a mess to cut. The knife either compressed it akin to slicing a hot loaf of white bread or else it grated it like cheese. So in the end I hacked it with a serrated knife and also did a bit of pinching. The pinching was far neater, but fraught with the aforementioned psychological issues - who knew!?
We ate the cake with what were apparently the last twenty UK grown raspberries (based on the price) and whipped cream. On the whole, I was unimpressed by this cake. Yes it is moist, with a touch of lemon and the subtle crunch of ground almonds, but if I were to seek out an almond cake, then I would turn one more page in Rose's book and go straight for the Almond Shamah Chiffon. That way I wouldn't have to confront any of my phobias (other than maybe that one about eating such a girly pink cake) and I would have a cake that I could serve my Nana (I am not implying that she is a non- handwasher, although, now I come to think of it...).