Sunday, 3 March 2013

Maple, Hazelnut and Lemon Loaf

Now that we've booked another holiday to Canada, I'm no longer reluctant to finish the stock of maple syrup I have in the fridge. Next time I think I'll splash out on a better quality syrup, as the brand I'm using doesn't have a strong enough flavour to compete with other ingredients. It's hard to tell what it added to this maple, hazelnut and lemon loaf, apart from sweetness. I'm sure a cake made with just sugar would taste different, but it was hard to detect the actual maple syrup flavour. Not to worry - it was still a very tasty cake.

I adapted a recipe from Chocolate and Baking, a small book by Flame Tree publishing which I picked up in a charity shop. The book is divided incongruously into two sections, one on general baking and one on all aspects of baking and dessert making with chocolate. I can't help feeling two separate books would have been better, as I hardly ever pick up the book to look at the general baking section because the title suggests it's all chocolate recipes. This time I was working my way through my baking books, looking for something "different" and this book was near the top of the stack.

The original recipe used pecans, which are often used together with maple syrup, but my nut-avoiding FB is only happy with hazelnuts and almonds, so I made a substitution. The recipe is simple to make, but the proportion of flour to other ingredients gives a dense, rather dry loaf, which might be better served as a tea-loaf (sliced and buttered) rather than iced as a cake. The cake was supposed to cook in 60 minutes, but I found it took nearer to 90 minutes, which might just have been because of the shape of my particular loaf tin, which makes a short, deep loaf.

I found several similar recipes online, using American cup measurements, which used 1 1/2 cups of flour (which would only be around 210g), so I wonder if this recipe has been mistranslated from an American recipe. If so, it makes me doubt all the other recipes in the book.

350g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
175g butter, cubed
75g sugar
125g pecan nuts, roughly chopped (I used 100g blanched hazelnuts)
3 medium eggs
1 tablespoon milk
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
5 tablespoons maple syrup.

For the icing - 75g icing sugar mixed to a smooth thick icing with lemon juice
25g chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 170C and prepare a large (2lb/900g) loaf tin.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and rub in the butter, stir in the sugar and nuts.
Beat the eggs with the milk and lemon zest and stir in the maple syrup.
Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Spoon into the loaf tin, level the top and bake for 60 minutes, or until a test probe comes out clean (my cake took almost 90 minutes).
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then move to a wire rack to complete cooling.
Drizzle over the lemon icing and sprinkle with nuts, if using.


Katie said...

Looks a lovely tall cake. Shame it was a bit dry. Have it with custard or warm it slightly before eating. I always find that helps.
Would love to go to Canada!

Foodycat said...

Smeared with butter would be lovely!

belleau kitchen said...

it looks glorious... try popping it in the fridge, I find that always moistens dry cakes a little... it does look lovely though x

Baking Addict said...

I've never been to Canada - so jealous :) Love the flavour combination here, shame it's a little dry. It looks good from here especially with the icing.

Caroline said...

It's a beautifully proportioned loaf! Very impressive. It does seem a lot of flour for the amount of other ingredients though, I hate it when conversions are out.

Anonymous said...

It does look so very pretty though! I now buy American versions of cookbooks and do the conversions myself - I've had too many "metric versions" where the recipes just didn't work!

Phil in the Kitchen said...

That does look like a lovely cake but it does sound like a lot of flour. Funnily enough I've just run out of maple syrup but sadly I can only manage a quick trip to Sainsburys. I'm very jealous of the Canada trip.

Jean said...

It looks gorgeous, love the icing dripping down the sides!
I have never used maple syrup in a cake, it's time I did something about that. Wish I could make a trip to Canada to fetch some.....lucky you !!

snowy said...

A great looking cake, but there does seem to be a lot of flour in the recipe. Would be lovely buttered! Lucky you off to Canada again - very jealous!