Sugee cake and I have history: we go way back. Every birthday, wedding or celebration culminated in the slicing of one of these gloriously golden cakes. No one made this cake quite like my grandpa did – he was something of an expert, despite never following a formal recipe himself. This cake is usually laden with egg yolk (at least six) and butter, to be eaten in small slices. As you can imagine, it wasn’t the easiest thing to make vegan, but I kept at it until I cracked it. I figured I owed it to myself, as I never did get that eighteenth-birthday sugee cake…
Cream the vegan butter in a large bowl to soften it, then mix in the semolina and plant milk. Cover the bowl and chill in the fridge overnight to soften the semolina.
Meanwhile, make the marzipan. In a food processor, blitz the ground almonds for 30–60 seconds to make them a little finer – but don’t over-process or you’ll end up with almond butter! Tip out into a large bowl and sift in the icing sugar. Drizzle in the maple syrup, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon water, and the almond extract, if using. Knead until it starts to come together. Shape into a ball, then flatten into a disc – this will make it easier to roll it out later. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before using.
Let the cake cool completely before turning out of the tin. Roll out the marzipan into an 18 cm circle. Warm the apricot jam in a small pan (or the microwave) and brush over the top of the cake. Lay the marzipan onto the cake, then garnish with almonds and pistachios.
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