James Martin’s Almond & Rapeseed Oil Cake With White Chocolate Ice Cream


It’s hard not to love this dessert. Cakes made with oil have an intriguingly different texture from those made with butter, and the celery leaves add a refreshing note alongside the white chocolate ice cream

• 1/2 quantity Swiss meringue
• 2 pears, peeled
• 1 lemon, halved
• 100g caster sugar
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 25g butter
• 1/2 quantity Almond and rapeseed oil cake
• 4 teaspoons poire william liqueur
• 1/2 quantity White chocolate ice cream
• 1 handful celery leaves
• 1 tablespoon fennel tops
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

For the jelly:
• 100ml elderflower cordial
• 100ml water
• 2 sheets gelatine, soaked in cold water for 5 minutes

1 Preheat the oven to 110°C, or use a dehydrator set at 63°C. Line a baking sheet, or the tray of the hydrator, with silicone paper.
2 Spread the meringue to a thickness of about 3mm across the silicone paper. Place in the oven and bake for 2 hours then turn the oven off and leave to dry out. Alternatively, place in the dehydrator for 4 hours.
3 Meanwhile, make the jelly. Heat the elderflower cordial and water in a saucepan. Add the drained, squeezed gelatine and heat until dissolved. Strain through a fine sieve into a small plastic container and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
4 Place the pears in a saucepan with the lemon, sugar, cinnamon stick and enough water to just cover the pears. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until tender.
5 Remove the pears from the liquid and allow to cool. Cut in half, remove the core and slice into wedges.
6 Heat a frying pan until hot, add the butter and pear wedges and sauté for a couple of minutes until golden.
7 To serve, break the cake apart into small pieces and divide among 4 serving plates.
8 Drizzle with the Poire William liqueur, then place a few pieces of pear next to the pieces of cake. Place a spoonful of the ice cream alongside, together with a few broken pieces of the meringue.
9 Scatter the celery leaves and fennel tops around and finish with a few squares of elderflower jelly and scattering of fennel seeds.

Recipe courtesy of James Martin, extracted from Sweet. Photography by © Quadrille. 

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