This unusual cake is made without sugar, but the signature Latin American sweetness comes into play with the pisco-spiked sugar syrup poured over the warm cake after baking. Often this cake is baked in individual tins or in a large rectangular slab, but we like it in a ring tin - all the better for piling up softly whipped cream in the centre. Pisco-soaked raisins are traditionally served alongside this cake, too, if the fancy takes you.
- Softened butter, for greasing
- 15 egg yolks
- 25 ml pisco (see note)
- 1 1/3 tsp baking powder
- Whipped cream, chopped roasted almonds and finely grated lime rind, to serve
- 220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- 125 ml pisco
- 3 cinnamon quills
- Juice of ½ lime
- 1Preheat oven to 170C, and butter and line a 23cm watertight ring tin with baking paper, then lightly butter the baking paper. Place a roasting pan large enough to hold the cake tin in the oven and fill with 5cm hot water. Whisk yolks with a pinch of salt in an electric mixer on high speed, gradually adding pisco and baking powder, until fluffy and tripled in volume (6-8 minutes). Pour batter into prepared tin, smooth top, place in roasting pan and bake until a skewer inserted withdraws clean (18-20 minutes; do not open oven in the first 10 minutes of cooking).
- 2Meanwhile, for pisco syrup, bring ingredients and 125ml water to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until slightly thickened (8-10 minutes).
- 3When cake is cooked, cool in tin for 10 minutes, then pierce all over at regular intervals with a skewer. Pour syrup on cake, then stand to soak for 15 minutes. Carefully turn cake out onto a rimmed serving platter and refrigerate until chilled. Serve with whipped cream in the centre, and scattered with roast almonds and lime rind.
Pisco, a grape brandy, is available from select bottle shops. If it’s unavailable substitute a light brandy or white rum.