Perhaps it's all this snow and ice, but I've been dreaming about exotic places. Beaches, warm breezes, spice bazaars… I’ve also been trying not to eat chocolate after repeated Christmas lunges into the Quality Street tin.
This has lead to a dismal state of affairs. I am desperately craving a slice of something sweet, but all my usual sources are out the window. In despair, I went to the health food shop (I know, I know…) and bought a bag of dried figs the size of a small dog. Sweet, yes. Cutting it? No. Although they do look pretty good in Sian's fig and walnut bars.
Instead I started thinking what they could be paired with to make them more enticing and appeal to my sweetness cravings. Pistachios maybe, almonds definitely, honey, TURKISH DELIGHT.
This cake will put to bed any sweet-tooth hankerings once and for all. There’s no chocolate, but it’s stuffed with more goodies than a Turkish Tiffin.* Most dried fruits work well – that half-packet of apricots hanging around will do nicely – so feel free to mix’n’match.
Also, if this cake is stored in a tin it just bets better as it gets older, much like Hugh Jackman…
*shameless historical inaccuracy
Arabian Nights Cake
For the cake:
- 175g butter, softened
- 125g caster sugar
- 125g self raising flour
- 50g ground almonds
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 40g pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1 handful of dried figs, sliced
- 4 pieces of rose Turkish Delight, chopped (not the chocolate covered kind)
- Squeeze lemon juice
- 2 tbsp. honey
- Preheat the oven to around 180C. Grease and line an 8" cake tin. A loaf tin would work as well, if you've lost all the others.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, beaten eggs, then add the ground almonds, flour and baking powder and mix by hand (phew!) or with an electric mixer until combined.
- Tip in the chopped pistachios and Turkish Delight and gently stir until they are spread through.
- Scatter the bottom of your tin with sliced figs.
- Splodge your cake mixture on top.
- Bake for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. (If the edges are browning too fast, cover them with tin foil)
- Wait a minute or two, and then turn your cake out onto a wire rack.
- Dilute the honey with a splash of hot water and a quick squeeze of lemon and stir.
- Spoon it over the cake whilst still warm. It's especially delicious with a coffee and a large spoonful of Greek yoghurt or mascarpone.