I’m writing this about 5 hours before I get a train to the airport to go to Canada. But by the time you’re reading this, let’s all assume that I’m having a totally awesome time in Canada, and you can click over there > and see all the lovely photos of Canada on my Instagram feed.
The last couple of days have been really busy – not helped by the fact that I spent Friday morning with a horrendous hangover because I went out for leaving drinks with my colleagues on Thursday (it’s true – I’m unemployed now!) It’s on occasions such as these that I remember why I don’t drink spirits. On all but one of the (few) occasions I have been quite ill from alcohol consumption, it’s been because I’ve mixed spirits – in this case, rum cocktails – with either beer or wine. It never ends well, don’t do it kids. Beer is fine. So once I’d finally got my act together on Friday afternoon, I made this quickly. Whilst I’d intended to give it to my friend Cat, I had to leave to meet her about 2 minutes after it came out of the oven, so it wasn’t exactly transportable. Now I am stuck with 2/3rds of a cake to eat in…5 hours. The down side of going on holiday is that you have to use up all the random odds and ends of food you’ve got, which has resulted in me making cheese straws and eating a LOT of courgette today. So you may think that amount of cake is no problem, but trust me, it is.
This cake is exceptionally good though. I got to use my food processor for the first time (yay!) to grind up hazelnuts. I think I didn’t grind them quite finely enough though, because the cake is quite oily – which isn’t really a problem, because it’s just super moist which is a good thing. But I think next time there will be some more thorough grinding going on. That sounds weird. You know what I mean.
I haven’t made the coffee icing, just because I didn’t have time, and it didn’t really seem worth it, but I can imagine that it would add nicely to the overall flavour, so the icing recipe is below too. If mixing two ingredients together counts as a recipe.
Next week: Spinach and Cheese Muffins!
Roasted Hazelnut, Muscovado and Coffee Cake (from Tender, vol.II by Nigel Slater)
125g golden caster sugar
125g light muscovado sugar
200g shelled hazelnuts
65g self raising flour
for the coffee icing:
250g icing sugar
1-2 tbsp espresso
1. Cut the butter into small pieces and beat together with the sugars until light and fluffy. You want to end up with a mixture that is smooth and latte coloured. Set the oven to 160C/Gas 3 and line the base of a deep 22-23cm cake tin with parchment.
2. Tip the nuts into a dry frying pan and toast over a moderate heat until golden and lightly flecked with brown on all sides. Grind half of them to a fine powder, and the other half less, so they are like fine gravel.
3. Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork, then add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating thoroughly between each addition. Tip in both lots of ground hazelnuts and mix lightly. Gently add the flour, incorporating it thoroughly but carefully, then scrape into the cake tin using a rubber spatula, and smooth the top.
4. Bake for 45-50 mins covering the top lightly with foil for the last 10 mins. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 15 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack. Leave to cool. Mix the icing sugar and coffee together until smooth, then trickle over the cake and leave for an hour or so to set.