Cinnamon Cake with Chocolate and Hazelnut Streusel
I know that I am my own harshest critic; much of what I see as bad about my baking probably wouldn't be noticed by anyone other than another perfectionist! That's why it makes me unreasonably happy to say that the outcome of this recipe, for a cinnamon flavoured cake with chocolate and hazelnuts in the streusel topping, really pleased me - it was much better than I expected!
I used this recipe from CD Kitchen, adding a couple of modifications to the streusel to give the topping more flavour. This was one of the few recipes I found which used oil instead of butter in both the cake and the streusel - in fact the same base mixture was used for both, which made mixing the cake that much easier.
At the point where the flour mixture was divided into the cake and topping, I added 2 tablespoons of cocoa, 50g of finely chopped 70% chocolate and 50g finely chopped toasted hazelnuts, instead of the walnuts stipulated in the recipe.
The unusual steps of mixing the oil into the dry flour and sugar mix, and allowing the raising agents to start to work in the liquid, gave a really light, well-textured cake. The batter was quite thin, and I was worried that the streusel crumbs wouldn't stay on the surface, but that was an unfounded fear! The cake took quite a lot longer to cook than I expected, but the recipe is a little ambiguous on timing - I'm not sure whether it meant 45 minutes after the initial 10 minutes at a higher temperature, or 45 minutes in total. It didn't help that I didn't notice the initial time at a higher temperature until I'd had the cake in the oven for 30 minutes at the low temperature, either!
My only criticism was that the volume of streusel crumbs was a bit too much, although I may have been a little too generous taking out 3/4 of a cup from the basic mixture. After baking, some of the crumbs were still loose on the surface - next time I will make a little less, or perhaps try putting half the crumbs in a layer inside the cake.
Sorry about the bad photos - a dull brown cake with a dark brown topping isn't easy to make look attractive!