Sunday, 3 November 2013

Blackberry-glazed Apple and Hazelnut Cake

The inspiration for this cake came from watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's new TV series, River Cottage to the Core, in which he is trying to get us to eat more fruit, particularly in savoury dishes. He hasn't entirely converted me yet, although the pear, spinach and blue cheese pizza looked delicious. However, he also made this lovely looking cake to reward his little blackberry pickers, and I thought the idea of a fruit purée topping was very effective.

H F-W topped a plain sponge cake with blackberry purée, but I decided to go a step further and pair the blackberries with one of their natural partners - apples. I also decided to add ground hazelnuts to the cake batter to bump up the flavour and make the cake as seasonal as possible.

For the cake, I made an all-in-one batter, using 150g each softened butter, caster sugar and SR flour, 50g ground hazelnuts,  3 eggs, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and two tablespoons of milk. To this I added a large apple, peeled, cored and sliced. I used one of my home-grown apples which are suitable for cooking and eating - you need an apple which keeps it's shape when cooked, which are usually eating apples. I cut the peeled apple into 8 wedges, then sliced these across to give pieces about 2 cm square and 3mm thick.

I cooked the batter in a 18cm (7") tin, lined with a paper case. I started the cake at 180C but lowered the heat half way through as the cake was browning too quickly; I also covered the cake with foil at this point. Altogether the cake was in the oven for 75 minutes - the batter was quite deep in a 18cm tin. I followed the usual advice to cook until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean - no wet crumbs adhering to it.

While the cake was cooking, I made a smooth fruit purée from 250g blackberries and 50g sugar, cooked briefly and sieved to remove pips. When the cake came out of the oven, I made holes all over the surface with a skewer and slowly spooned on as much of the still-hot purée as I could get on, then cooled the cake still in the tin. Despite quite large holes being made, the purée didn't really soak in very far, but it still looked very striking. The cake itself was very light, and both the apple and hazelnut flavours came through well. The tart blackberry purée was a good contrast to the sweet, tender cake, and the pieces of apple added to the texture.

I used the cake as a dessert, served with natural Greek yogurt and more blackberry purée.


Katie said...

This cake looks divine and not something I have seen done before. I love HFW too. Have his series on record but not seen it yet.

Bet this would taste great with some custard. Looks very autumnal

Suelle said...

Custard would be good too, but my husband dislikes it intensely!

Choclette said...

Oh yes Suelle, that is very striking indeed, what a lovely looking cake and it sounds very tasty too.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Such a wonderful combination of flavours! "Autumn on a plate" as the food TV types would have it.

Phil in the Kitchen said...

Absolutely my kind of cake - a combination of some of my favourite things. Much as I love Greek yogurt, I think I'd go for custard too, preferably very cold custard.

Snowy said...

Great flavours, and it's such a good idea to top a cake with puree. I'd go for custard too, but warm!