Sunday, 11 September 2011

Apple, Hazelnut and Choc Chip Cake

We are just back from a rather damp week spent on the Lizard. For those wondering, the Lizard is not a large scaly reptile, although there is a reptilian link. It's a peninsula lying at the most southerly point of mainland UK and is made of serpentine rock. It's actually a piece of sea floor which somehow ended up in the wrong place. The serpentine has unusual chemical properties which leads to a unique habitat, making it a Mecca for botanists - CT was in his element. Despite the fact we only had one morning of sun the entire duration of our stay, it wasn't as wet as it might have been and we had a lovely time, spoilt only by the fact it passed far too quickly.

Before leaving, the big question was what cake to take with us? On our last stay there, two years ago, I made a well remembered chocolate mayonnaise cake which was not only delicious but lasted the whole week. I needed to replicate the delicious and lasting qualities, but wanted something a little different. In the end, the sheer number of apples I'd been given sealed the deal, it just had to be an apple cake. Leafing through my many recipe books and scraps of paper, I finally plumped for an Apple & Hazelnut cake. I've had this recipe for at least 14 years but have never actually made it and where it came from is now lost in the mists of time. I adapted it to include chocolate of course and made a few other amendments along the way, including brandy soaked sultanas.

This is what I did:
  • Soaked 3oz sultanas in 1 tbsp brandy for a couple of hours (overnight would have been better).
  • Spent an age cracking the last of last year's hazelnuts, then toasted 3oz of them.
  • When cool, blitzed them in a coffee grinder.
  • Peeled, cored and chopped 1 lb cooking apples
  • Creamed 8oz unsalted butter with 6oz cardamom sugar.
  • Beat in 3 duck eggs.
  • Stirred in 2 tsp dried orange zest.
  • Sieved in 12oz flour (half wholemeal and half white), 1.5 tsp baking powder, a pinch of salt and 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • Mixed in the apple and hazelnuts.
  • Stirred in sultanas and 3oz milk chocolate drops (40%).
  • Spooned into a 23cm cake mould.
  • Sliced an unpeeled dessert apple and placed slices around the top.
  • Scattered over 2 tbsp demerara sugar
  • Baked for 45 mins at 180C.
Luckily the cake was delicious and it did last us the week, although with the various other treats we had whilst we were there, we probably shouldn't have had any cake at all.

Here are a few highlights of our trip in no particular order of merit or occurrence:

Walking the coastal path on that first sunny morning somewhere near Kennack Sands.

Spotting our first view of Cornish Heath (Erica vagans) this year - no longer at its best but always exciting as the Lizard is one of the very few places that it grows in the UK.

Dodging showers around Trewidden Gardens, Penzance - 1st visit and the most impressive grove of tree ferns we've seen in the UK.

Kynance Cove as we saw it two years ago - this time it was hard to discern through the thick mist.

The biggest swathe of Devil's Bit Scabious either of us have ever seen.

Dragonfly on CT's knee.

The delightful fishing village of Cadgwith.

Posh nosh at New Yard Restaurant, Trelowarren.

28 comments:

  1. And what a cake to pick too! Your holiday spot looks lovely, even if the weather was slightly on the rubbish side ;0)

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  2. LOVELY looking cake and I LOVE that part of Cornwall.
    Karen

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  3. Beautiful post and delicious cake! LOL gloria

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  4. Lovely, fancy that dragonfly landing on CT's knee. I love those flowers in the jug.

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  5. Gorgeous pictures there, a pity the weather wasn't kinder to you.

    It sounds like a fabulous early autumn cake, making the most of all our seasonal bounty!

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  6. It looks like a lovely holiday! And a beautiful cake.

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  7. That cake looks delicious and love the sound of your additons. A lovely cake to take on holiday and enjoy by the coats. looks idilic

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  8. What a stunning looking place. The beautiful colour of the water contrasting with the jutting rocks makes me want to sit on the edge, ponder the world...with a large wedge of your cake in hand.
    Glad you had a good time away.

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  9. What a beautiful place, Choc! I'm glad you had your good cake to sustain you - sounds like you would have been burning up energy exploring! :)

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  10. Welcome back. I would love to visit the Lizard again, it is many years since I was there. Your cake sounds very good, we always used to take a Dundee cake on holiday and a big gingerbread.

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  11. Wow - that's either a small plate or a massive cake! (I'm hoping it's the latter). Looks divine.
    I love the way apple softens when it bakes on the top of a cake

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  12. There are so many things I like about this cake,the hazelnuts, the duck eggs, the apples, the size :-). And the Lizard looks like a gorgeous place too, with so many breathtaking sights. Thanks for sharing your recipe and holiday with us!

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  13. beautiful coastal pictures
    delicious looking cake

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  14. Looks like a wonderful holiday with fabulous scenery and food. I am impressed that you took a homemade cake with you too.

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  15. A cake that lasts a week? Surely you jest, I have never heard of such a thing! Beautiful holiday snaps, am very envious.

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  16. I'd have a heart attack if a dragonfly landed on my knee :o

    Heart failure aside... what a tremendous cake! Apples, hazelnuts, brandy soaked sultanas AND chocolate? Yes please!

    Lizard looks absolutely beautiful :)

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  17. Beautiful country! I can see why you went back :) And your cake looks marvelous...I'm so glad it's apple season again~

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  18. Chele - it's a fabulous spot and because we got such good views from inside, weather watching was quite fun too ;-)

    Karen - it's very hard to pick a favourite spot in Cornwall, but the Lizard is certainly one of them.

    Gloria - thank you.

    Kath - that dragonfly seemed devoted to CT's knee. Every time he moved it flew off and then settled straight back there again. The flowers were mostly apple mint growing in vast quantities and montbretia which I picked from the hedges and didn't have to feel guilty about as they are an invasive species.

    C - thank you. September is usually quite sunny and calm here in Cornwall, so I was hopeful - hey ho, it was still a good break.

    Foodycat - thanks, both holiday and cake were indeed good.

    Katie - apple and hazelnuts are a really good combination.

    CityHippy - there are some stunning rocks around there. Although to be fair, most of the Cornish coast has stunning rocks. We did momentarily get a scene of beautiful turquoise water that appeared when the mist lifted for a short while but all the more magical for that.

    Celia - he he, not sure we burned up as much energy as we consumed, but we did get a fair bit of exercise in. There are so many lovely walks around that area.

    Janice - thank you. I expect you've got all sorts of stunning scenery around you too, although it may be a bit warmer on the Lizard. Now you've got me thinking about ginger and apple cake .....

    CC - glad to report, it was a massive cake - it did have to last us the week ;-)

    Foodiva - thank you for your kind comment. CT and I are not known for our restraint ;-)

    Torview - thank you.

    Maggie - having a good cake to take with us was part of the fun.

    KitchenMaid - ha ha, greedy we may be, but sometimes you have to eke out the pleasure.

    Catherine - I think we're more likely to get heart failure from the cake than the dragonfly, but we valiantly ate it all anyway ;-)

    Lizzy - thank you. I have apples spilling from various bags all over my kitchen at the moment!!!

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  19. What a gorgeous place - I've been wanting to go there for years and now you've inspired me to do something about it. Sorry about the weather, but with that gorgeous cake - who worries? Love the look of the posh nosh, too! Jill

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  20. I love those photos - and the apple cake - wow. Hazelnuts, chocolate chips, apples - it's an autumnal masterpiece!

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  21. Insanely tempting apple cake:)

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  22. looks like a great holiday and the cake sounds delicious - I have a chocolate hazelnut and apple cake recipe but it is not as posh as this one

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  23. Jill - it's a fabulous place, lots to explore and lots of good food too ;-)

    Ruth - thank you. I like the sound of masterpiece ;-)

    Angie - thank you.

    Malli - thank you

    Johanna - oh, have you made it? Hazelnuts, apple and chocolate are a lovely combination.

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  24. Mmmm cake sounds and looks so tasty, i love any desserts/cakes with apples in! Cornwall looks as beautiful as ever too!

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  25. And we're just a couple of weeks back from the same places on the Lizard. What did you think of New Yard? We didn't visit this time, but Trelowarren was where we always used to stay (when their prices were about a quarter of what they are now!)

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  26. Welcome back, looks like a wonderful trip. And what an amazing cake, wish I'd seen your recipe before I made my burned version of an apple cake

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  27. looks like a great holiday and the cake sounds delicious - I have a chocolate hazelnut and apple cake recipe but it is not as posh as this one

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