For our next Masterclass here at L'Ortolan we turn our attention to home baking. With all of our masterclasses we cover a vast range of skills and tricks of the trade to try at home. This time will be no different, from making our own croissants, from scratch, and learning the process of lamination through the dough, to making a deliciously creamy St Clements tart, and the traditional French cake dating back to the 1950's, gateau Opera.
But for those of you who quite simply cannot wait for next week's masterclass, I am happy to share L'Ortolan's very own Honey Cake recipe:
120g egg yolk (roughly 6 egg yolks)
115g egg white (roughly 4 egg whites)
40g finely ground almonds
70g plain flour
To make the cake firstly prepare all the equipment you will need; an electric mixer, two bowls, a sieve, small pan, flexible spatula, hand whisk, micro grater and a shallow cake tin, ideally 6-7" wide. It is possible to use a larger or smaller tin however this will affect the cooking times, with less time needed for a larger tin, or more time for a smaller one. Simply line the cake tin with a high grade greaseproof paper, at the restaurant we lightly grease the tin also as this helps to make the paper stick into place. Ensure the sides and base of the tin are fully covered and set the oven to 150°c.
Now we are ready to start baking. Firstly place the egg yolks and sugar into the electric mixer and whisk on full power for around 10 minutes until they form a light and airy foam, called a sabayon. In the mean time sieve the almonds and flour together into a bowl and remove the zest from the lemon using the micro grater and mix all of these ingredients. Add the honey and butter to the pan and lightly warm the pan until the honey and butter have become fluid. In the other bowl, using a hand whisk whip the egg whites until they become very light and fluffy, when they are ready you should be able to turn the bowl upside down without losing any of the mixture. All that is left to do now is mix everything together, but this needs to be done in a very specific order. Firstly pour the warmed honey and butter mix into the whisked egg yolk sabayon. Then gently fold the sifted flour and almonds into the egg yolks, taking care to retain as much of the air in the sabayon as possible. The more you work and fold the mix, the more it will be knocked back, but be careful not to leave any lumps behind. Finally, gently fold the egg whites through evenly and pour into the cake tin ensuring the mix fills all the corners. Place the cake mixture into the oven on the middle shelf for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out cleanly. Allow to cool on a cooling rack before cutting.
This is a cake that will taste fantastic when served freshly baked with a nice afternoon cup of tea.
For more tips and tasters our next masterclass is on Saturday 21st May, but availability is limited.