There’s so much to say about this cake, that I don’t think I can. It leads a double life. On the surface, plain; and beneath, anything but. It has a taste that can’t easily be defined - sweet, but savory, herbaceous, fragrant, and warm. Nostalgic, in a way too. It reminds me of my grandmother. It seems like an odd choice of words to describe it, but try it and you’ll know what I mean.
Makes an 8x4 inch (21 x 11-cm) loaf, which serves eight to ten
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks; 170 g) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan
1 1/4 cups + 1 teas (160 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup + 2 teaspoons (1-00 g) ground almonds
1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
3 large eggs
zest of a lemon
1/2 cup (120 ml) buttermilk
confectioners’ sugar, for finishing
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Grease and line an 8 x 4 x 3-inch (21 x 11 x 7-cm) loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a slight overhand on the sides.
Whisk together the flour, almonds, herbes de Provence, baking powder, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Pause mixing to scrape down the bottom and side of the bowl. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate each addition, then beat in the lemon zest. Beat in half the dry ingredients, followed by the buttermilk, then the rest of the dry ingredients, until well combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.
Bake for 50to 55 minutes, until golden brown. A skewer instered into the middle should come out clean. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, before turning it out and onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Reprinted with permission from Wild Sweetness: Recipes Inspired by Nature by Thalia Ho. Copyright 2021, Harper Design.
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