Rava Tea Cake with Almond Paste and Rose Water
1⁄2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 cup coarse rava, sooji or cream of wheat (not quick cooking)
4 ounces almond paste, cut into pieces (see note)
2 tablespoons rose water
1 tablespoon brandy
4 large eggs, separated
1⁄4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Sliced fresh fruit, such as bananas and strawberries
Confectioner’s sugar for garnish
Whipped cream for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease an 8-inch-square cake pan.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and 1 cup of the sugar until creamy. Add the rava, almond paste, rose water, and brandy, and continue beating until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks 1 at a time. After adding the last egg yolk, beat for an additional minute to develop structure.
In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the cream of tartar, and beat until soft peaks form. While beating, slowly add the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar, and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff.
Add 1⁄4 of the stiff egg whites to the cake batter, and fold in with swift strokes. This will lighten the mixture. Now add the rest of the egg whites and fold in gently yet firmly, without deflating the mixture. Scrape into the prepared cake pan, smooth the top, and bake in the center of the oven until golden brown all over and cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes.
To serve it up as a dessert, place some fresh fruit alongside each serving, dust with a little confectioner’s sugar, and garnish with a dollop of freshly whipped cream and some toasted slivered almonds.
Note: You could also use marzipan, but remember that marzipan typically has more sugar in it than plain almond paste.