She’s finally arrived – Little Miss Spice was born on 22 April, weighing 7lbs 4 (3.3kg). We’re now back at home and trying to get used to our new life which seems to be full of an endless cycle of washing, changing nappies, crying, feeding, sleeping and starting all over again so I’m not sure how much blogging is going to get done over the next few weeks (I have been writing this post for almost a week!). But, she’s worth it, and absolutely gorgeous.
It’s hard to remember life before she arrived but a few weeks ago I was reading a post on Katrina’s blog, Culinary Flavours, about a Greek mastic flavoured pastry. I’d never heard of mastic and so was delighted when Katrina very kindly offered to send me some. It is a resin from the mastic tree and has an unusual pine/cedar type flavour. Have a look at Katrina’s blog for more information about it.
Well, when I received the mastic I was in a cake baking mood and so I decided to make a mastic scented cake. I researched flavours that go with mastic and came up with cardamom and decided to make a mastic and cardamom cake. I was advised that mastic is a very strong flavour and can be an acquired taste and so to use very little to begin with. I found a basic recipe and halved all the quantities to make a smaller cake and used less than the recommended amount of mastic too. I added cardamom hoping that it would balance out the mastic and go well with the ground almond, but in the end I couldn’t taste the cardamom as the mastic overpowered it. Overall, it was a lovely soft almondy cake but I couldn’t decide whether I liked the mastic or not. It was different and interesting but part of me thought, I would rather just eat almond and cardamom cake as the mastic left a slight aftertaste. Maybe I overdid it a little. Next time I will add just a pinch of ground mastic and will up the cardamom. So, even though this was not a complete success, I’m pleased to have tried something new and especially grateful to Katrina for sending the mastic.
125g ground almonds
125g icing sugar
75g self-raising flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
2g mastic(but would use much less next time)
1 tsp caster sugar
2 cardamom pods
How to Make Mastic and Cardamom Cake
1. Put the mastic, caster sugar and the seeds from 2 cardamom pods in a spice grinder. Grind to a powder. Put this powder in a large mixing bowl with the ground almonds, icing sugar and butter. Cream together.
2. Add the egg and beat with a whisk. Then add the self-raising flour and baking powder and whisk until everything is combined.
3. Put the mixture in a greased cake tin and bake in the oven at about 170C for 45 minutes.