Saturday, August 14, 2010

a summer-coloured fruit cake

Firstly apologies for the lack of post over the last few days but apparently there is a technical problem in Dublin somewhere and my Internet has been cut off, albeit temporarily ...  not convenient to say the least.  I have in the interim been experimenting with various cake recipes.  The cake below is a pure hazelnut cake, but I think that my oven thermostat and the dial are at odds with each other, as the cake was over-cooked on the outside and slightly undercooked on the inside ... I think an oven thermometer is required.

Dodgy ovens and no Internet drove Wheeler and Company to take refuge with my family on the North Antrim coast for a few days and am I glad that I did.  It has been sunshine and fun all the way, I even swam in the sea and survived!  And I can also write my blog this evening, what a novelty.

This is a recipe for a really nice, 'any time of the day' kind of fruit cake and it is especially nice eaten with warm summer fruits.  I made apricots but you could use stewed berries or poached pears.  It also contains my flavour of the month nut, the hazelnut!  I love the colour of the apricots with this as they complement the golden top and sings of summer.

You will need:

250g butter
250g caster sugar
100g plain flour
1 lemon, unwaxed, zest and juice
75g ground hazelnuts
100g unsulphured apricots (dark brown in colour)
4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten

Set the oven at 180 and line the base of a 23" with greaseproof paper

Combine the butter and sugar and beat in the mixer until it is light and creamy. Mix the flour and the hazelnuts. Whizz the dried apricot until they are very finely chopped.
Add the lightly beaten eggs to the butter and sugar gradually with the mixer on a low speed.
Add the zest of the lemon. Turn off the mixer and add about a quarter of the flour/hazelnut mix.
Mix slowly until it is incorporated. Repeat the process adding another quarter of the flour/hazelnut, turning the mixer off while you do so. Lastly add the lemon juice and the apricots and mix slowly for a few minutes until combined.

Spoon the mix into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until the top is a rich brown and the cake feels firm to the touch. If you stick in a skewer, it should come out clean.

I served this with morning coffee, each slice covered with warm apricots stewed in butter, honey, vanilla and thyme. This would also be good with poached pears or summer berries and cream.  You can substitute the hazelnuts with almonds and if you have no unsulphured apricots, you can use the brighter orange sulphured variety.

As I mentioned the weather has been lovely enough to barbeque - a spatchcock chicken, absolutely delicious.  As the chicken was very large, I started it off in the oven for about an hour and then finished it off on the barbeque for about 20 minutes.....not true barbequing but absolutely delicious, the perfect end to the day.  With long shadows and a slight chill in the air, the view is amazing here on a nice day ... I cannot think of a nicer place to be!

Back to Dublin tomorrow and a short holiday to Berlin next week (sans enfants) ... back soon!


  1. That looks gorgeous, but how much flour is involved?

  2. Thanks cj, I typed this up in the middle of the night and forgot to list the flour! Well spotted! Its a simple enough cake recipe where you can keep the staple amount of eggs, sugar and flour but can substitute the hazelnuts with ground almonds or the lemon juice with orange could also make a syrup with sugar and orange juice and spoon it over the cake when it has cooled to make it really moist, a little like the Tunisian Orange cake recipe I posted on the March birthday brunch post ...

    Thanks for reading and correcting my mistakes!!