A favourite not only for Christmas but also for birthday and wedding celebrations.
500g – 1 lb ground almonds
15g – 1/2 oz plain flour
500g – 1 lb caster sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon almond essence
3 egg whites, whisked
1 teaspoon orange-flower water
1 egg white
250g – 8 oz icing sugar
fresh fruit and bay leaves
icing sugar for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 160 °C/325 °F/ Gas 3.
- Line 3-4 baking sheets with non-stick baking parchment.
- Mix together the ground almonds, flour, caster sugar, lemon zest and almond essence in a bowl until well blended.
- Gradually stir in enough egg white to form a soft but firm dough. Divide into manageable pieces and roll out each piece into a rope as thick as a finger.
- To construct the cake the “ropes” are cut into 12 graduated lengths, and formed into circles. Start by cutting a piece 10cm – 4 inch long. Form intoa circle, pressing the ends together to join neatly, and place on a baking sheet.
- Continue to cut lengths and make circles, increasing the length by 2.5cm -1 inch- each time, until there are 12 graduated circles in total, the largest measuring 37.5cm -15inch- in circumference.
- Bake the circles in batches for 20 minutes until pale brown and firm. Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then slide onto a wire rack.
- To make the icing, whisk the orange-flower water and the egg white in a bowl. Gradually add the icing sugar, beating well after each addition, until it is the consistency of thick cream.Continue to beat and add the icing sugar until it stands in soft peaks.
- Spoon the icing into grease proof piping bags fitted with no.1 plain writting nozzle. Alternativly, snip the point off the end of the bag, half fill with icing and fold down the top.
- Using a flat cake plate or a cake board, place the largest circle in the centre. Spread with a little of the icing and place the next largest on top. Repeat until all the circles are stacked together. Pipe fine threads of icing lops around each ring until evenly covered.
- Decorate the top and the base with fresh fruits and bay leaves and dust with icing sugar.