This lovely loaf comes with the delicious flavour of marzipan but without actual marzipan. I think it is a perfect Beltane offering as sweets and cake are sacred foods for Beltane and will also work well for Mother’s Day. Ellen Evert Hopman in A Druid’s Herbal writes that almonds and roses, the essential flavours in marzipan, are both herbs of Beltane. The almond a symbol of “true love transcending death” and rose, “a Goddess herb belonging to Venus and the Water element”.
The cake comes together easily and freezes well, so if you like marzipan, best to make two. Substituting a good gluten free flour for the all-purpose flour is also an option.
1 cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. rum
2 Tbsp. toasted sliced almonds
Start be taking a moment to bring your focus into the present moment. Gather the ingredients and wash your hands. Experience this as more of a ritual and less as a chore. Invite the compassionate spirits to join you. Hold your intentions for this cake in your heart. Begin.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan. It is also possible to use almond flour or bread crumbs for this purpose.
Beat the butter, sugar and flavourings together.
Much of the rosewater found in food stores is imitation. Reading the labels is valuable when rosewater is being used ritually.
In the picture above, a little red bottle is front and center. That is bitter almond essence. It tastes different than typical almond flavouring which is sweet. Bitter almond has one bitter almond to 1000 sweet almonds. Dr. Oetker makes this essence and it can usually be found in a delicatessen or online. I highly recommend making the effort to find it. It makes a world of difference to the taste of the finished cake.
Sprinkle the almond flour over the mixture and then add the remaining dry ingredients through a sifter. Using the beaters of a hand mixer, not turned on, blend the ingredients together until just mixed. A spatula will work too but that is one more thing to wash. The important part is not over mixing.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 65 minutes. Check the center with a toothpick or knitting needle and when done transfer to a cooling rack for 15 minutes before turning the loaf cake out of the pan. The edges should be coming away from the sides and the top a gold brown. Let the cake cool upside down, with the wide part of the cake at the bottom and the narrower section on top. That is where the icing will go once the cake is cool.
Toast the sliced almonds until there is a mixture of colours without any burnt almonds. Spoon the icing sugar into a measuring cup, letting it get a little extra air and then transfer to a bowl. Add the rum and mix until fully combined. Drizzle the icing over the top, making it run down the sides in places. Top with almonds and allow to dry before cutting.
Be sure you have room for a second slice.