Making Almond Cake with Dotti

By Caitlin McMullen Edited by Jake Watson

Dotti is a 92 year-old woman who loves to cook sweet treats. For the past two years she has been coming into my workplace every Saturday, making me try some of her inventions or her traditional recipes, which have been passed on for generations.

Almond CakeSome of these recipes shared have been within her family for 70 years. She told me that she hasn’t shared her recipes with anyone before, so I’m privileged not just to eat them, but to find out how she does it. Dotti doesn’t go by exact measurements or steps; it comes naturally to her, something that I aspire to at her age. Going strong for a 92 year-old, she loves having friends over, insists on making me a cake every time I go over (even though she is cooking something else for me), and has two chickens which she hasn’t named.

Almond Cake
You will need:
2 sticks of butter
1 Cup of sour cream
Teaspoon of baking soda
2 cups of flour
Pinch of salt
One and a half cups of sugar
A packet of almonds cut into small pieces, (we have 198g)
4 eggs
Teaspoon of almond extract
Icing sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 175 degrees.
2. Butter a round cake pan. “Make sure you get everywhere, including on the sides of the pan” Also use baking paper, and remember to butter that as well.
3. Mix a cup of sour cream and baking soda together.
4. Sift two cups worth of flour. Put the sifted flour and salt in another bowl.
5. With an electric beater, put the butter and sugar in there. “Try and hold the bowl so the sugar or butter doesn’t go everywhere. My mother use to make this cake. Back when she made it, there was none of this electric beater or anything. She had to use her muscle to mix”
6. Add the almonds into the beater, little by little, for about 8 minutes. “Do not add them all or you’ll have almonds flying all over your kitchen”
7. With the eggs, try to separate the egg and the yolks “I had to go out and buy some eggs this morning as the hens aren’t laying any again. The vet thinks they are nervous. I’m not exactly sure what they have to be nervous about”
8. Add the eggs yolks into the beater. “It will look curdled, but that’s how it looks every time. My mother used to throw out her mixture at this step sometimes if it looked too curdled, but I have learnt from making this many times that it’s just supposed to be like that at this step.”
9. Add the flour mixture into the beater until it’s mixed all together.
10. Pour the batter into the round pan evenly. It should look like this:

Almond 2

11. Bake for an hour on 170 degrees. Sometimes it might need longer. “You’ll know by pressing the top if it is ready or not; a good cake will bounce back. You will also see it separate from the sides of the pan. If it does both of these things, take it out of the oven. You have a good cake. If it breaks when you press on it, you might have overcooked it.”

12. Put some icing sugar over the top.
“This is optional but I think needed. It makes the cake so much sweeter. Enjoy this as an afternoon tea. I like to take this to my friends’ houses.”