Phew! A successful cake after what seems like a stream of disappointments. It's not really that long since I baked something that I was (almost) completely happy with, but it seems like it when you're having to eat second-rate cakes!
This is my first attempt at adapting the Annie Bell recipe for a Lemon Drizzle Traybake, which I tried recently. I left out the lemon (obviously!), dissolved some coffee in the milk and substituted ground hazelnuts for some of the flour. The batter was baked in two sponge tins and then sandwiched and topped with a soft Nutella and plain chocolate frosting.
180ml sunflower oil
270g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee
50g chopped toasted hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cocoa (see note)
220g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
60g plain chocolate
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons milk
roughly 100g Nutella*
Pre-heat the oven to 190C, and prepare two 8"(20cm) sandwich tins.
Dissolve the coffee in the milk. Put the hazelnuts, cocoa and 20g of the flour into a food processor or mini-chopper and process until the nuts are very finely ground, but not turning greasy (the flour helps prevent this).
In a large bowl whisk the oil, sugar, milk and coffee, and eggs until emulsified. Sift in the plain flour and baking powder, then add the ground nut mixture; whisk together until just combined.
Divide the mixture between the two sandwich tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until done when tested.
Cool in the tins for ten minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
When cool, sandwich with half the frosting and top with the other half.
While the cakes are cooking make the frosting - melt the chocolate and butter in a bowl, over a pan of simmering water. Remove from the heat and beat in the other ingredients. Allow to cool to a spreading consistency before using.
note - adding a little cocoa to cakes containing nuts is a tip from Dan Lepard to increase the nuttiness of the flavour.
This was a really well-flavoured and textured cake. The coffee flavour was a little overwhemed by the Nutella frosting, but I think the amount of coffee I used was enough - any more would have been bitter. The flavour of the nuts in both the cake and the frosting was very good.
With a differently flavoured frosting - perhaps a vanilla or coffee buttercream - this would make a good coffee and nut cake with the coffee flavour more predominant. I'm really pleased that the recipe adapted as well as I'd hoped, and will be experimenting further with this.