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Roast apple, blackberry & hazelnut cake
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by Diana Henry
For the cake
325g blanched hazelnuts
225g butter, at room temperature
225g light brown soft sugar
4 British Blacktail Free Range Large Eggs, lightly beaten
300g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150ml whole milk
For the filling and topping
500g Bramley apples
1 tbsp caster sugar
Approx 10g light brown soft sugar, to taste
175g blackberry jelly
250ml double cream (double if putting cream on the top as well as in the middle)
1 tsp vanilla extract (double if putting cream on top)
15g icing sugar (double if putting cream on top), plus extra for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Butter and line the base of 2 x 20-22cm cake tins. For the filling, halve the Bramley apples and put them in a roasting tin where they can lie in a single layer. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp caster sugar and add about 75ml water. Roast for 30 minutes, or until the flesh has collapsed and there are bits of caramelised sugar in patches. Leave to cool.
2. For the cake, put the hazelnuts in a clean baking tin in a single layer and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until you can smell the nuttiness. Leave to cool. Remove 25g of the nuts and set them aside. Put the rest in a food processor and pulse to break them down. You want some big chunks at the end and some ground nuts too. The pulse button stops the nuts from becoming too oily.
3. Cream the butter and sugar for the cake until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the flour with the baking powder and ¼ tsp salt. Add the milk and flour alternately, then fold in the chopped nuts.
4. Scrape into the cake tins and smooth the tops. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until you can see the edges of the cakes are leaving the sides of the tin and a skewer, when inserted into the middle, comes out clean. Leave the cakes in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a wire rack and leave to cool.
5. Scrape the flesh out of the apples, discarding the core and skin. Mash the flesh. Add enough brown sugar to make them a little less tart but remember that you’re going to have jelly and whipped cream in the filling along with the apples (so they shouldn’t be too sweet).
6. Lay down the bottom layer of the cake and spread the blackberry jelly over it. Whip the cream until it can hold its shape well, but don’t overdo it. Add vanilla extract and enough icing sugar to sweeten the cream. Spread the cream (using only ½ if also using it for the top) over the jelly, then spoon the apple purée on top.
7. Put the second sponge on top and dust with icing sugar. Bash the reserved toasted hazelnuts in a pestle and mortar, using only enough force to halve them. If using a second layer of cream, add it now, then arrange the blackberries and hazelnuts on top of the cake.
Typical values per serving:
This recipe was first published in October 2021.