The inspiration for this recipe came from Grace Higgens’ “Hurry Cake”, which was a simple cake of self-raising flour, ground almonds, butter and sugar. Grace was the housekeeper and cook at Charleston House, and Virginia Woolf enjoyed her cakes so much when she visited that she requested the recipes from Grace as “I can’t get any cakes made except yours that I like to eat” (thank you card from Virginia to Grace, in 1936). This version is a little different and also involves icing, but I love the idea of a simple cake you can pull together at the last minute, without too much fuss.
If you don’t want to make this cake as a gluten-free version, you can substitute 100g plain flour instead of the 100g gluten-free flour. I used our Shipton Mill all purpose gluten-free flour here.
Note on cooking – if you’re making this gluten-free, be sure to check the baking powder is gluten-free certified, as not all of them are.
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Butter a rectangular baking dish, 22cm by 28cm.
Using an electric hand whisk, cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs one by one, beating as you go.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder together with a hand whisk for even distribution.
Gradually beat the ground almonds into the butter mix, followed by the flour and baking powder, vanilla essence and salt. Add the milk to loosen the batter.
Using a spatula, spread the mixture out in your baking dish evenly and smooth the top. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a metal skewer comes out clean. Leave it to cool in the dish.
To make the buttercream icing, place the 100g butter and 275g icing sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until thoroughly combined, for a few minutes. Add the milk slowly as you go, and add a couple of drops of vanilla essence along with a dash of lemon juice at the end.
Once the cake is cooled, ice it with the buttercream. Slice and serve.