This is one of the most popular recipes on the 'French Country Baking Day' at Cake Boy. It's inspired by the south of France, and it happens to be gluten-free. If you are not sure about the lavender, you can omit it, but at the same time you can change the ingredients to match the seasons. For example, replacing the lavender with sun-dried cranberries makes it more Christmassy. The rich spicy syrup works very well too.
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm cake tin with extra oil, then base-line with baking paper.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the ground almonds, caster sugar, lavender and baking powder, mixing together well. Break in the eggs and add the oil, mixing gently together.
3. Using a fine grater, grate the zest from the lemon and oranges into the mixture, then mix together.
4. Turn the cake mixture into the prepared tin, and bake in the preheated oven for an hour. Cover the top with a piece of foil after about 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Squeeze the juice from the zested lemon and oranges into a small pan. Add the sugar and spices, and mix together well. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Once the cake has been removed from the oven, pierce it several times with a skewer or small, sharp knife. Using a tablespoon, spoon the syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak in.
Tip: If you prefer a cake with a slightly less dense texture, substitute 50% of the ground almonds for finely ground polenta or semolina.
Home Bake by Eric Lanlard (Mitchell Beazley).