Note: This recipe is based on a cake I created as an adaptation of a recipe for orange cake soaked in orange syrup found in a Unicef 'world recipes' children's recipe book. The orange cake is wonderful; this was a personal swing I created as a birthday cake. It was made by my usual method of 'make it up as you go along and hope like hell that it works' and, while it did work, I have left the method in the exact format which I used, for comedic value and to imbue the reader with a comfortable sense of superiority. Feel free to rearrange into something resembling a sensible order for your own use.


4 eggs
125g softened unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
125g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g chopped almonds (for the saner and less DIY-inclined, ground almonds)
almond essence
1 eating apple

For the syrup

amaretto liqueur
apple juice
brown sugar


Distribute the remains of various meals, papers, magazines and cats around the kitchen. Locate a few clear spaces.

Begin by opening the chopped almonds. A pair of scissors is recommended as ballistic almonds can be hazardous. Take two or three bowls, a mortar and pestle and a sieve. Using bowls to sort batches, beat, mash, grind and generally abuse almonds until they could be called 'ground' from a long distance. This part of the process should take about an hour, and will not result in 100g of ground almonds. Stop when your shoulders start to cramp. Alternatively, this paragraph can run 'Take ground almonds. Open.'

Pant. Make tea. Rest. Continue.

Fetch scales, some sort of electric whisk and assortment of bowls. Weigh various ingredients, sieving flour in the process (remove bits of almond from sieve first). Mix baking powder, almonds and flour. Separate egg yolks from whites. Forget about whites for the moment, whisk yolks and butter together, then add sugar and whisk again. Look at flour. Think for a moment. Remember about egg whites, lick and wash whisk and whisk egg whites until stiff.

Return to egg yolky buttery mixture and flour. Add a couple of drops of almond essence to the egg stuff and whisk a bit more. Look at bowls. Realise that flour will not fit in egg bowl. Scrape egg mixture from its bowl into the flour bowl instead. Whisk, resulting in something that looks like doughy breadcrumbs. Fetch milk. Add milk until mixture resembles cake mix. Fetch egg whites and fold into mixture using a metal spoon. Peel and coarsely chop apple, fold in also. Finish. Look at cake tin. Realise cake tin is still in its raw state. Stuff sheet of greaseproof paper into tin, fold and trim until seems to approximately fit. Scrape bottom of butter dish and grease paper. Pour cake mix into tin. Realise oven probably should have been turned on. Turn oven on to 200 degrees C (or equivalent) and wander in and out of kitchen for ten minutes until the little light goes out. Put cake in oven, bake for about 45 minutes.


Remove cake from oven. If it is cake-shaped and spongy, turn out onto a rack and peel off paper. If it resembles shortbread, give up. Take measuring jug. Place amaretto liqueur, apple juice and water in jug up to about 300ml in whatever proportions you fancy, about half amaretto, a third juice and a sixth water works quite well. Otherwise, just pour things in until it tastes nice. Place in saucepan, add as much sugar as seems necessary, heat. Reduce a bit if you feel like it. When ready, turn cake out onto plate, poke holes in it with a skewer and pour syrup over top slowly. It will probably appear to be sitting in a small alcoholic lake but will have absorbed this by tomorrow.

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