There is nothing like a rainy day to get me in the mood to bake. Like rain here on the West Coast, the act of me baking a rare occurrence – and thus one that I celebrate! 
My recipe for almond & white grape cake paired (and made with) La Motte‘s new vintage MCC release – their 2018 Méthode Cap Classique – is just the sort of densely rich cake one craves on a gloomy afternoon. 

A dessert that’s not too sweet, this almond and white grape cake is ideal to serve as either a teatime treat or after-dinner offering. While the cake itself is heavy on eggs and butter, it takes a minimal amount of sugar which is where the addition of the MCC syrup is welcome. Made from fresh lemon juice, sugar, a hint of thyme and La Motte’s vintage 2018 Méthode Cap Classique. To pair with, the MCC provides a crisp counter to the earthy almond and bright citrus notes in the cake. 

Inspired in part by Diana Henry‘s gooseberry cake from How to Eat a Peach, this version uses sweet white grapes within a batter of egg, butter and almond flour and a citrusy syrup made with the MCC to drizzle over the top. 


Almond and white grape cake with citrus-infused MCC syrup

Prep time: 15 mins /Cook time: 50 mins /Serves: 4-6

You will need:

  • 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature, lightly beaten
  • 75g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped lemon (or ordinary) thyme leaves
  • 1 large lemon, zested
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 3/4 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 350g of sweet white grapes, washed and dried

For the syrup:

  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • 150ml La Motte MCC

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin with butter and line the base with baking paper.


Beat the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the lightly beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in a little of the plain flour if the mixture separates. Use a mortar and pestle to release the oils from the thyme leaves and lemon zest and add the mixture to the cake batter. Fold in with a metal spoon. Add the rest of the plain flour, the ground almonds and the baking powder to the mixture and fold in with the spoon. Pour the batter into the springform tin and arrange the grapes on top. Bake the cake on the middle shelf for 30 minutes – I used the fan setting on my oven for the first 15 minutes and then just the element for the remainder. The cake is ready when a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. The grapes will have settled at the base of the cake so don’t worry if they aren’t visible.

For the syrup, combine the ingredients in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce the liquid until it is thickened and syrupy. Poke a few holes in the top of the cake with a skewer while it is still warm and pour over half the syrup, allowing it to be absorbed into the cake. Leave the cake to cool a little before turning out onto a serving plate.

Before slicing, garnish the top of the cake with any leftover thyme leaves or flowers and serve the cake with some softened mascarpone or clotted cream. Any leftover grapes can be tossed in the remaining syrup and served alongside the cake with chilled glasses of La Motte’s 2018 Méthode Cap Classique.


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