Friday, September 9, 2011

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Woman in Food-# 14 Elizabeth David-Orange Almond Cake

Nice texture...lovely cake
Honestly, Elizabeth David is someone I had never heard of.  She was picked by Gourmet magazine as being one of the 50 Woman Game Changers in Food.  British born in 1913, and definitely ahead of her time, she was seen as a "Saucy Dame"! In one of the articles I read, they referred to her as the Julia Child of England.  Born into money and class, she studied art in Paris and was a bit of a rebel. Elizabeth traveled the world during WW2, then came back to England and started writing about food.  In 1950 she published her first book on Mediterranean cooking. She wrote seven books in all. Her last work published in 1977 "English Bread and Yeast Cookery", got people across the United Kingdom baking again in protest of mass produced bread. She was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1982 and died in 1992.
I decided to make Elizabeth's Orange and Almond Cake. I thought it sounded different and loved the fact that it was made with almond meal (which I happened to have in my pantry) and orange juice! This cake was different...definitely a mediterranean flavor. I had orange blossom water, so I used it! The texture was really nice but, not sure about the flavor.  It was not sweet and the orange blossom water seemed a bit overpowering...and I love orange blossom water. This cake calls for 1 tablespoon of orange blossom water...I would cut that to 1 teaspoon. It was a good cake but, I think I would make some changes if I were to make it again!

Folding in the egg whites

Pouring into prepared pan

I think next time I would make this in a spring form would not release from this pan!

Texture was very nice and the whipped cream added a nice break from the strong flavor of the orange blossom water.

Tea and cake anyone?

Elizabeth David's Orange and Almond Cake

PG  Tested

I was intrigued by this cake, made with no wheat flour but rather almond flour or meal and bread crumbs. It is as Elizabeth David describes it at the end:

The juice of 3 oranges, grated zest of 1 orange, 6 tablespoons dry bread crumbs, 1 cup ground almonds or almond meal/flour, orange blossom water, 4 eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, heavy cream.
Mix together the orange juice, grated orange zest and bread crumbs, add the ground almonds and, if available, a tablespoon of orange blossom water.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt until almost white. Add to the first mixture. Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. Pour into a square pan, buttered and sprinkled with bread crumbs, and bake in a moderate oven at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes.
When cold turn the cake out and cover the top with whipped cream (about 1/3 cup).

Very good and light.

Thanks to Mary of One Perfect Bite for taking us on this journey! The following bloggers are also honoring Elizabeth David. Hope you'll visit them. They are all great cooks who have wonderful blogs. 


  1. That looks very pretty and nicely topped with that little bit of whipped cream! It has been fun reading about Elizabeth David as I did not know about her either. I love these posts you are all doing on the women, such fun to read and see each time.

  2. Funny you should write about using a spring form pan for this cake. I've seen a number of British cooks use that type of pan when making cakes--Nigella Lawson to name one. I wonder if Elizabeth David would have used one, too.

  3. I make an orange almond cake that sounds like it would be much like the texture of this, but if only I'd heard of orange blossom water before...oh sounds dreamy! In moderation, of course ;) Great pick for this week...and I bet a springform would work very well.

  4. I have never heard of her either. The cake looks so good. I have never used orange blossom water or rose water before.

  5. I remember reading about Elizabeth David in the Gourmet magazines, from the eighties issues. She always had some marvelous recipes, and articles written. I did not realize she died already a long time ago!
    Such an interesting post about these amazing ladies!
    Love the cake, so moist, and superb!

  6. Yum - looks great for a morning tea break :)