Good intentions and all that. Does hazelnut cake make up for inaction?

Time passes so quickly, it boggles my mind. It has been more than a year since we moved to London. It has been long enough for me to realise that this new job is also as boring/mundane as all other jobs. At least the people in my team are nice.

Even in this year, I started with the best of intentions of baking and blogging more often, I have  obviously failed at that. As an aside, this is becoming like a pattern of all posts.

1. Insert apology for not posting enough.

2. Mention how I reached this recipe.

3. Give recipe.

Sad but true. Anyhow, it is what it is. I had a list of things which I will cook/try as my resolution, which I have been planning to post since forever (since the beginning of the year). I will post that in the next post.

Today, the focus is on the recipe of the day. A hazelnut cake. The main reason I made this was I bought some excellent hazelnuts on our recent trip to Istanbul. Istanbul is unbelievable for food. Our 5 day trip was more about food than about the sites. We bought so much food, amazing spices, turkish delight and these super hazelnuts. I always felt hazelnuts were too expensive when I was India but in the spice market in Istanbul they were reasonable and fresh.

This recipe scared me a bit. I am scared of recipes which require egg whites to be beaten till stiff peaks. I have had one bad experience before. Also this cake has no flour, so I was scared I will make a mess of it. But this worked out well and I think I have got the hang of it (famous last words!?).

This post is so fresh that the cake is cooling now as I write this. I have tasted the crumbs and this experiment is a success!

First thing, if you don’t like hazelnuts, don’t make this. Some of you might be thinking No Shit Sherlock!,  but I am clarifying because this cake is only hazelnut. Since there is no flour, it is only for nut fanatics.

So things you need for this, apart from the ingredients – 2-3 clean (without moisture or fat) bowls. Hand held whisk or a food processor with a whisk, a grinding attachment and a good silicone spatula.

Here goes the recipe (very slightly modified from Rachel Allen’s ‘Bake’) :

Ingredients:

200g hazlenuts (I used skinned but as per the recipe you can use with skins on)

1 tsp baking powder (since the cake is gluten free otherwise, use gluten free baking powder if you prefer)

1 tsp ground cinnamon ( I love cinnamon. How can anyone not)

100 g softened butter

5 eggs separated (break every egg in a small container before moving to the main container. Avoids trouble if one of the eggs is bad)

175g caster sugar or soft brown sugar (I used brown since I didn’t have caster)

1 tsp vanilla extract

pinch of salt

BREAKING NEWS: Cake has been sliced and tasted. To quote TV chefs, sublime. 🙂

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 170 deg C (150 fan). Butter a 20cm springform tin and line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Grind hazelnuts, cinnamon, baking powder in food processor until fine. Add butter and mix.

3. Whisk egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes light like mousse. It will also lighten in colour. When you move the whisk in the mixture it should leave trails. Add the hazelnut mix from step 2 and whisk again.

4. Whisk egg whites in another clean container with a clean, dry whisk. Whisk till stiff peaks form.

5. Slowly, maybe in 3-4 steps, mix the yolk and hazelnut mix in the whites. Do it delicately to avoid deflating the whites.

6. Once the mixture is evenly mixed, i.e. you cannot see the specks of whites, pour into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface and bake for 60-7o minutes ( 10 -15 minutes less for a fan assisted oven).

7. Do not open the oven during the baking as this cake is quite delicate. At the end of the time, do a skewer test, i.e. put a skewer in the cake and if it comes out clean you are done.

8. Take out tin and leave to cool for 15 minutes. Slowly with palette knife release sides and open the springform tin. Leave to cool again for 15 minutes before you remove the base. After that wait to cool completely and you can then slice the cake.

This is an easy recipe. Just have the ingredients and the bowls ready. I hope some of you try it because it tastes super (apne mooh mian mithhu but still). Try and report back. Till next time. Bye.

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