A new novel by Bristol author Laura Madeleine is a decadent story of love and scandal that sweeps you away to Paris in 1909, with many trips to the French capital’s finest patisseries.
It’s a tough job carrying out research for a book like The Confectioner’s Tale, but Laura was up to the task and presents here a recipe to accompany the novel, which will be published in May.
“This recipe combines all of my favourite things,” says Laura, who lives in Totterdown. “Raspberries, almonds, cake (obviously) and a more than generous helping of St Germain: a beautiful elderflower liqueur made from elderflower blossom hand-picked in the Alps.
“Named after the area on the Parisian Left Bank that – in its heyday – harboured artists, philosophers, bakers, jazz musicians, writers and the oldest food market in the city, it hopefully conjures up just a little of heady sweetness and decadence that were to be found there.”
St Germain Cake
For the cake:
• 200g butter, softened
• 200g caster sugar
• 3 free-range eggs
• 200g self-raising flour
• 25g ground almonds
• 3 tbsp St Germain (elderflower liqueur: you can use cordial if you prefer)
• zest of ½ a lemon
• 100g fresh raspberries
• 1 tbsp flour
For the elderflower syrup:
• 2 tbsp caster sugar
• 50ml St Germain
• Zest and juice of ½ a lemon
• Handful of flaked almonds
• Icing sugar and lemon zest, to decorate
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 23cm, 9 inch deep cake tin.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
4. Add a quarter of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between.
5. Add the rest of the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between until it is just incorporated and no streaks are showing.
6. Gently stir in the ground almonds, St Germain and lemon zest.
7. Lightly toss the raspberries in flour (this’ll stop them all sinking to the bottom) and carefully stir them into the mixture. Add a splash of milk if the mixture needs loosening.
8. Dollop into the tin, smooth over the top and bake for around 40-45 minutes, or until it’s golden and risen, and a skewer inserted (and held there for a few seconds) comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly in its tin on a wire rack.
1. Place the sugar, St Germain, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan.
2. Bring to a simmer and reduce over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the consistency thickens. Be careful of the hot sugar.
3. When the cake is out of the oven, prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and spoon over the syrup so that it soaks in.
4. Lightly toast the flaked almonds in a dry frying pan for 2-3 minutes. Keep your eye on them, because they’ll catch quickly.
5. Decorate with the almonds, a dusting of icing sugar, lemon zest and eat warm, with a cup of tea, a tiny coffee or a glass of pastis.