Citrus and almond cake 

When Bert was a tiny newborn, me and his dad had a conversation about what we wanted for him. His dad looked wistfully into the air and I gazed pensively at my hands.

‘I want him to drive a sports car to France!’ he said and simultaneously I said, ‘I want him to be kind!’ We looked at each other in utter bemusement and moved on.

Given the extent of Bert’s deadpan, patronising backseat driving (me: ‘oh God, this is the only place to park. How will I get out?’ Him, briefly glancing up: ‘I think you’ll have to reverse, maybe’) and the fact he’s attacking me in this picture, maybe his father’s wish will be granted first.

We had breaded fish (home made) and chips (not home made) for dinner. Bert pointed at the fish and said, dismissively, ‘I not like that.’ His dad said, ‘Mum spent ages making that’ (ten minutes, actually, but the support was appreciated), ‘remember when you made some cakes. How would you have felt if we said we didn’t like them? Maybe sad. Maybe Mum might feel sad too.’ Bert looked at his fish thoughtfully and said ‘yessss.’

We had this cake for pudding. Bert said, ‘can I have more orange cake? It lovely.’ Twice. It was a good cake. But maybe he’s got a bit of kindness bubbling away in there after all.

Bert’s dad read him bedtime stories while I had a bath. I would have had my boy’s head on the pillow sooner. But his dad got deep, gurgling belly laughs out of him. 

Lets at least make it a hybrid, shall we Bert?

Makes a 21cm cake 

2 clementines, 1 lime, 1 lemon

250g caster sugar

6 eggs

250g ground almonds

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder 

Put the fruit in a saucepan, cover with cold water, put on a lid and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 hours.

Then heat the oven to gas mark 5/ 190 degrees and grease a 21cm round, loose bottomed tin. Purée the fruit and beat together with the remaining ingredients. Pour into the tin and bake for about an hour, till the top’s a deep golden brown and the cake’s coming away from the tin at the edges. 

We had it warm with cream. 


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