Sunday, 3 March 2013
Maple, Hazelnut and Lemon Loaf
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
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.