“ Brand: Lakeland / Type: Cake „
This very special almond cake sold by Lakeland Limited has been regularly purchased by my family for at least 5 years. Part of their speciality food range it has remained popular warranting and earning its treasured space in the catalogue.
You may know that Lakeland actively encourage their customers to suggest items to them that they have enjoyed on their travels. I strongly suspect this Queen of cakes was spotted in a sleepy French village patisserie, and has now become popular in many English store cupboards. I like to think of it as an emergency cake!
It has a grand name, "Suprëme Du Ventoux",and is an almond cake which is "sans farine/sans gluten", that is without gluten or flour, and it is rich in almonds. In fact they make up 28% of the cake.
Now if you would -imagine a Fray Bentos Pie, now being veggie I have to look deep into my memory for this, however some imprints on childhood remain with me and this ring pull can is the first clue that this cake is hidden inside just as the pie is.
The tin is about the same size as a Fray Bentos Pie and it comes within a cardboard box which comes beautifully decorated. A glistening polar white plate stands alone with a cake perched proud, and whole almonds sit beside the cake capturing the essence of what promises to be a culinary delight!
The beauty of this cake is that it is truly long life; years in fact, it remains fresh and moist until you use the key to unlock it from months of slumber within its gunmetal grey tin.
This is why I think of it as an emergency cake because when guests come you can always have a delicious treat in a matter of moments.
The ingredients are almonds, sugar, eggs, butter and pure vanilla extract and it is baked in Provence. Have a look at their website and under the cakes section you will see an image of the cake being opened-yum!
To use the cake you simply loosen the edges with a knife and invert onto a serving plate. It is presented in the dish it was baked in which is why you need to do this.
The cake is a golden brown and each slice is a moist affair bursting with almonds. It isn't low calorie, the cake serves 4 and each slice will cost you a hefty 283 calories, a fair amount considering it is not iced or filled.
It is free from trans-fats which is an integral part of the ethical considerations this company apply right across the range of products they make. However it will provide 61mg of cholesterol which is 20% of the recommended daily intake.
Now it sits plain and simple and on a white dish it looks stunningly stylish, but for me it improves with a glace icing made from icing sugar and almond essence. This isn't necessary, but being a Lancashire lass from birth, and brought up on cakes, I seem to need to emulate the tea time treats we used to enjoy in the 60s, when cakes often lay shrouded with a crowning layer of snowy white frosting. It isn't vital though as the cake is light and fluffy, and perhaps two almonds and a simple mint leaf is all it needs or even just a sprinkle of icing sugar.
Now the bad news, it's not cheap. It retails for £6.99 so each slice will cost almost £1.75 so it is coffee shop prices here for a home dessert. However it is an artisan French product made with simple ingredients, with no preservatives, and of course almonds are expensive. It is unlike any long life cake I have ever tried as it is so moist, you really can't imagine it came out of a tin and was baked months ago.
I keep a couple in my holiday cottage in Scotland which I use in emergencies when ferries or planes are cancelled in winter weather, and I find myself happily stranded with all shops closed. I like to think of it as my storm cake!
It's posh comfort food of the highest calibre-so good in fact you really don't need an excuse to indulge!
It goes really well with apricots and you can make a delicious dessert by popping halved fruits on the cake and covering with fresh cream.
So for me it's all good news except for the price, which means I don't buy more than a couple a year at the most. It is a reflection of the artisan nature of the product, like speciality baked bread it comes at a premium. So not an everyday cake for me, but something to keep for that rainy November day or that emergency guest!