The ICA Book of Tea and Company: Recipes and Reflections for Every Day arrives in shops this Friday and we think this might be the most charming book of the year. Part cook book, part reflective journal, this collection of teatime has cake and scone recipes sharing pages with inspiring quotes from figures such as Seamus Heaney, as well as a smattering of 'Irish Blessings' such as "May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live."
Here we share ICA member Nora Ryan from Sligo's flour-free fruit cake, "This flour-free cake uses ground almonds in place of the usual flour base, making it suitable for coeliacs and gluten-free diets. More importantly, it tastes delicious and is light and lovely enough to convert fruit cake sceptics."
Ingredients - makes 20cm (8in) cake
170g (6oz) raisins
85g (3oz) chopped dates
2 dessertspoons sweet sherry
340g (12oz) ground almonds
170g (6oz) glac? cherries, quartered
170g (6oz) butter
170g (6oz) caster sugar
1 teaspoon almond essence
What you'll need
20cm (8in) round cake tin wire rack
Preheat oven to 170?C/325?F/Gas 3. Lightly grease the round cake tin.
Combine the raisins, dates and sherry in a saucepan and heat gently over a low heat until the fruit soaks up the alcohol. Transfer to a bowl to cool before adding three tablespoons of ground almonds along with the glac? cherries and tossing together.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Separate the eggs and set aside the whites.
Beat the egg yolks into the butter and sugar mix, together with the almond essence. Stir in the remaining ground almonds and the soaked fruit and set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry. With a metal spoon, fold one third of the beaten egg whites into the cake mixture and mix thoroughly before gently folding in the remaining egg whites.
Pour the mixture into a prepared tin and bake in preheated oven for 50?60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.