Cakes made with ground nuts and no flour have a rich flavour and are very moist, but they also have a light and delicate texture. You can use ground nuts instead of some of the flour to improve the texture of fruit cakes, and chocolate cakes are excellent made with melted chocolate and ground nuts and no flour at all.
Vary the following simple recipe by using different kinds of ground nuts — hazelnuts are particularly good — and by adding chopped, toasted nuts, too, to the cake mixture. This cake has enough flavour and moisture to eat plain, but you can ice it, if you like or bake 2 cakes and sandwich them together with whipped cream, Greek yogurt or fresh fruit.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Have ready a buttered and floured 18cm (7in) sandwich tin, the base lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
Beat 125g (4oz) softened butter and 150g (5oz) golden caster sugar in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy, then beat in the finely grated rind of 1 lemon and ½teaspoon salt. Beat in 3 lightly beaten large eggs (size 1) and add alternately with 75g (3oz) ground almonds, beating well after each addition.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with demerara sugar. Bake for 45—50 minutes or until a fine skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out, then peel off the paper and place base-side down on a wire rack to cool completely.