Recipe originally published May 2017. Updated and republished in February 2022.
A sure sign of a recipe being a winner is when half of it is gone before I even manage to get photos! I knew the kids would like Almond Slice, given their love for Mr Kipling Bakewell Slices but I hadn’t anticipated making two batches within a few days.
If I’m being completely honest, I’m not too big a fan of almonds in baking. I can happily munch through an entire bag of whole almonds but when it comes to baking with them, I just get reminded of marzipan which is something I am most definitely not a fan of! I’m not entirely sure what it is about marzipan but I just can’t seem to grow any degree of fondness for it.
That being said, even I could appreciate the simplicity of these lovely little slices. Of course my favourite part is the pastry base; a sweet shortcrust, smothered in raspberry jam. But then you have the cake-like top; an almond sponge, slightly denser than what you would want on it’s own but paired with the jam and pastry, it has the perfect amount of bounce and bite. Finished with some crispy flaked almonds, which catch just a little bit of colour and extra flavour as the Almond Slice bakes.
“Perfect, absolutely perfect. Lovely recipe will be using it again.”
This perfect tea-time treat is much easier to make than what you’d possibly expect when looking at the end result. But trust me when I say they are a deceivingly easy bake, especially when you break each layer down into stages and tackle them each one at a time.
The bottom of Almond Slice is a sweet shortcrust pastry. Super simple to make with just some flour, butter/margarine, sugar and a little cold water.
You want your butter to be cold. And if you prefer to use margarine just be sure to use a block margarine, as opposed to a spread.
Alternatively, you can use a ready-roll shortcrust pastry, if you are tight on time or simply want to make things easier.
Keeping things traditional with the choice of raspberry jam, although you can of course use whatever kind of jam you’d like, or have to hand. Seedless is generally preferable though, for the best final texture.
Like most sponge cakes, margarine is the best fat to use. Some believe butter gives a better flavour to a cake, but margarine does make a better textured and more predictable sponge.
When it comes to what kind of margarine; a soft-spread or baking margarine is best. And as with all ingredients when baking any kind of sponge cake, ensure it is at room temperature before starting.
Of course these little slices need some sweetness. Caster sugar is the sugar of choice here and is preferable over granulated sugar, as it is finer and mixes better into the sponge batter.
Of course, an almond slice needs some almonds! Not only do ground almonds lend their flavour to the sponge of the slice, they also give it a slightly denser texture, whilst helping to maintain moisture.
Again, flour is a must in any cake batter and self-raising is used here to allow the cake topping to rise a little.
Eggs are the binder that brings all the sponge ingredients together. The size of the eggs doesn’t matter too much (I always use medium) but just be sure you’re using free-range eggs.
As with all ingredients when baking any kind of sponge cake, ensure they are at room temperature before starting.
The instantly iconic topping of any good Almond Slice. Use as much or as little as you’d like, to suit your own taste.
Granny’s Top Tips
• Blind baking your pastry is a must and I highly recommend it to avoid a soggy bottom, which is otherwise guaranteed due to the jam layer on top of the pastry.
• Be generous with your jam layer. It’s the jam that really adds character to these little almond slices, so don’t be stingy! And if you want to make your almond slice extra special, why not throw on a handful of fresh raspberries also?
For the Pastry Base
For the Pastry
- In a large bowl, rub the butter and flour with your fingers. Once it resembles bread crumbs, add the sugar and mix until combined.
- Gradually add the cold water a spoonful at a time, continuing to mix with your hands, bringing together to form a dough. You may not need all the water, or you may need a little extra – this can even vary from batch-to-batch.
- Continue to mix the dough in your hands until well formed. Turn out onto work surface, lightly dusted with flour. Gently knead until your dough is smooth.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and pop in the fridge for at least and hour to firm-up before use.
For the Almond Slice
- Pre-heat your oven to 190°c (or 170°c for a fan assisted oven or Gas Mark 5) and grease a 11×7 inch baking tin generously with some margarine/butter. Set aside.
- Remove your pre-made pastry from the fridge and roll on a floured surface to around 5mm thick. Transfer to your pre-greased tin, pushing the pastry into the edges. Trim the excess and line the pastry with some greaseproof paper before filling with baking beans. Blind bake the pastry for 10 minutes to give the bottom a head start and avoid a soggy pastry.
- Following the blind bake – and once cool enough to do so – remove the baking beans and top the pastry with the Raspberry Jam, evenly spreading over the pastry.
- In a large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the ground almonds and self-raising flour, mixing together before adding the eggs one at a time, continuing to mix to make a smooth batter.
- Spoon the batter on top of your jam-topped pastry and spread. evenly, ensuring to get right to the edges and corners. Top with a generous handful of flaked almonds.
- Bake in your pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden and spongy in appearance.
- Once completely cool, using a sharp knife, cut into individual slices.