Preheat the oven to 180c (Fan 160c)Grease and line a deep sided loose bottomed 20cm (8”) cake tin with a cake liner. See above instructions.
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter for a few minutes until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar a little at a time. Continue beating until lighter in colour with a creamy fluffy texture. Scape down the sides of the bowl as you go along.
Add the Almond Extract to the beaten eggs and beat lightly with a fork. Gradually add the egg mixture, a little at a time, to the cake batter. If it looks as if it might curdle add a little of the sifted plain flour. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as you go along. Continue beating until all the eggs are incorporated into the mixture.
Sift the baking powder into the plain flour then add to the cake batter along with the ground almonds. Gently fold in until well combined. Do this as gently as possible using a large metal spoon. Taking care not to knock out all the air that you have beaten in.
Pour the batter evenly into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 mins. Or until baked, testing the centre of the cake with a skewer until it comes out clean.
Make the Topping
While the cake is baking. Add all the ingredients for the topping, into a large pan. Gently heat until all the butter and sugar are melted. Simmer over a gentle heat for a few moments until it begins to thicken. Take off the heat and leave to cool a little.
Once the cake has baked for 40 mins do the skewer test as mentioned above.
Remove the cake from the oven and carefully spread the topping evenly over the cake. Return the cake back to the oven and bake for a further 10 -15 mins. Or until the Almonds are slightly golden in colour. Ensure that the almonds do not become too golden and burnt looking. Leave in the tin to cool for 10 – 15 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
If the cake is not cooked enough before you add the topping, all the caramel and nuts will sink in the middle and you will have a soggy unattractive cake with a sunken middle.
Ensure that you grease and line the cake tin with a cake liner. This will ensure that the caramel from the topping soaks into the sponge during those last few minutes of baking. If not, the buttery caramel will seep out through the bottom of the tin.