Autumn is here. I tend to forget how quickly summer can end, how the chill in the air appears overnight and the nights start to draw in. The weather is wetter this year, but the same change comes, the trees are turning shades of orange and gold, which spells time for a slightly heartier cake that warms you on cooler days.
This is that cake. A wonderful nutty cake with warm fruit and a crumble topping. It’s basically two puddings combined into a joyous concoction that will warm your soul. There had to be some self-control to stop us demolishing the entire thing in an afternoon.
I’ve rarely used hazelnuts in a cake before, almonds are usually the recommended nut of choice. After this, I will be making more cakes with hazelnuts in because, seriously, wow! Forget hazelnuts and chocolate in your cake, hazelnuts with fruit is where it’s at. This is destined to become a staple cake, one that I make again and again throughout the autumn and winter.
Apple & Blackberry Loaf Cake (from Nigel Slater’s ‘Tender, vol.II)
for the cake:
2 small dessert apples
half a lemon
150g golden caster sugar (or half caster, half muscovado)
85g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
100g ground hazelnuts (I got chopped and ground them down a little so they had a slightly rougher texture)
for the crumble:
50g plain flour
60g golden caster sugar
2 heaped tbsp rolled oats
pinch of cinnamon (if you like)
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a deep loaf tin.
- Peel and quarter the apples, core them and then slice them thinly (not paper thin). Squeeze lemon juice over them, and then mix with the blackberries
- Beat the sugar and butter together until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat together.
- Sift the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl, and add the hazelnuts. Add to the mixture in two or three lots.
- Transfer to the tin and scatter the apples and blackberries over the top, pushing some of the fruit lightly down through the mixture.
- Make the crumble by rubbing the flour and butter together, and stirring in the sugar, oats and cinnamon. Scatter the crumble on top of the cake and bake for about an hour until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out moist but relatively clean. If the crumble browns on top too quickly, then cover with a piece of foil halfway through whilst it finishes cooking through.