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Almond And Lemon Syrup Cake with Violets or Heartsease

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  • 45 g Slightly stale breadcrumbs; (1 1/2oz)
  • 200 g Caster sugar; (7oz)
  • 100 g Ground almonds; (3 1/2oz)
  • 200 ml Oil; (7fl oz)
  • 4 Eggs
  • Finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 ts Baking powder
  • 1 sm Lemon; Juice of
  • 85 g Sugar; (3oz)
  • 100 ml Water; (3 1/2fl oz)
  • 8 Fresh spikes of lavender flowers or 6; or 1 1/2tbsp dried spikes, rosewater
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • Violets; heartsease, or garder pansies


Line the base of a 20cm (8 inch) cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides. Mix the breadcrumbs with the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Add the oil and eggs and beat well. Stir in the lemon zest. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Put into a cold oven and set the heat to 190øC/375øF/gas mark 5. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the cake is a rich brown and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then turn out onto a plate.
Make the syrup while the cake is cooking. Put all ingredients into a pan, and bring gently to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved completely. Simmer for 3 mintues. Remove the lavender flowers and cinnamon if you wish. Pierce holes in the cake with a skewer while it is still warm and pour over the syrup. Leave to cool, spooning excess syrup back over every now and then until it is all soaked up. Serve with creme fraiche, whipped cream or mascarpone and possibly some sliced fresh fruit on the side.
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