Raspberry and almond slice on a sponge base, also known as 15-minute blitz cake (excluding the baking time). Better and quicker than Bakewell!
Slices, squares, sheet cake, traybake – whatever you call it, it’s a flat slab of a cake, baked in a rectangular tin or tray, cut up into pieces to be eaten with your fingers. It will commonly have a sponge or shortcrust base and a generous topping.
Which foods do you eat with your hands?
Nothing controversial about the above definition except perhaps the bit about fingers. How do you decide whether to use a fork for your dessert or to go hand to mouth?
My approach is the common sense one: if you can hold it in your paw, that’s what you do. But I’m a hands-on eater: no forks for my burgers thank you, however tall they tower. Pizza is only tasty when hand held. Knife and fork at chicken wings? And no finger licking? You're having a laugh. And the same goes for spare ribs.
I do have SOME table manners though, you’ll be pleased to know, and I eat my soup with a spoon instead of slurping it from the bowl.
The Weather Man is at the opposite end of the spectrum. Thank heavens, he doesn’t eat his sandwiches with a knife and fork, like my grandmother used to (I’m not even joking: she’d cut a bite-sized piece of her buttered toast and only then carry it to her mouth with her fingers. She was very posh; maybe it’s common to bite?).
He tackles every cake with a fork except muffins and biscuits. Sadly, I can’t recall my Granny eating a muffin whether with or without a fork, but then she probably would consider eating one beneath her altogether.
Which desserts to eat with a fork?
I suppose the useful rule of thumb (or fork) is to decide how messy a cake is (cream, jam, frosting, icing) and take it from there. And so, because slices and bars usually have a firm, relatively dry base, it is safe to grab them with your paws. And the size is handy (hehe) too: a couple of bites and gone.
It's quick, but not SO quick
I found the recipe below in the German Lecker online magazine. They call it Blitz Butterkuchen ready in a quarter of an hour. If that is the case, I don’t want to know what an elaborate German cake is like, because this one is not all that Blitz and Donner.
In my books a lightning speed quick cake (which is what Blitz Kuchen means) is where you plonk all the ingredients into a bowl, mix and bake. Creaming sugar with butter and adding eggs one by one, using an electric mixer, is not in that category.
How to make raspberry and almond slice?
Lightning quick or not, it makes an absolutely delicious cake. The base is a straightforward sponge, covered with raspberries (cherry jam in the original recipe but that makes for a far too sickly sweet confection) but it’s the topping that is the interesting element.
Flaked almonds mixed with demerara sugar are lavishly showered over the raspberries and it is all dotted with very cold butter, diced small or grated coarse. NB even though grating ensures a more even spread of the butter over cake base, it is so messy that you might be cursing it, me and Lecker.
It bakes reasonably quickly because the base is spread thin which lets the almond flakes toast nicely but prevents them from burning.
It is important to fully line the baking tray with parchment, unless its bottom comes loose; otherwise you’ll have to eat the cake straight out of the tin with spoons, as it won't be feasible to turn it out. Which would make my discussion about forks vs. fingers perfectly moot.
If you’d like to use jam instead of fresh fruit (sickly sweet, I remind you), dollop teaspoonfuls of jam over the cake base in an even pattern.
Raspberries can be swapped for blueberries, cherries, strawberries, quartered plums or apricots, or lightly roasted apples.
Instead of almonds, you can use chopped walnuts or hazelnuts.
The sugar doesn’t really mix with flaked almonds for the topping and grating the butter is a faff so you could try the following method: mix softened butter with the sugar and almonds to shape a sort of fatball, chill it very well and then crumble it all over the cake base.
But please note that I have not yet tested that method. Will update once that happens.
More traybake recipes
Brownie is obviously the ultimate traybake – though don’t you usually eat it with a fork? I’m confused now…
Date and nut squares – no confusion there. And they are gorgeous!
Lemon bars: wonderfully gooey lemon and pistachio filling on shortcrust pastry base.
And let’s not forget flapjack which is a classic sheet bake. Even though it’s not exactly a cake and is never eaten with a fork.
More almond and raspberry recipes
Fluffy and pillowy gluten free almond cake with fresh raspberries is another recipe lifted from Lecker.
Bakewell tart is a classic combination of almond frangipane filling and raspberry jam. With flaked almonds sprinkled on top!