A delicious moist apple hazelnut cake which is made extra scrumptious with the addition of brandy soaked sultanas and milk chocolate chips. Keeps well for a good few days.
When we plan a holiday, there’s usually a big question to resolve. What cake to take with us? On our last holiday, 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 for this year, But I wanted something a little different.
Apple Hazelnut Cake
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 and hazelnut cake. I’ve had this recipe for at least fourteen 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. If you decide to soak the sultanas in brandy and I highly recommend that you do, try to soak them for as long as possible. Overnight is best.
Needless to say the cake was delicious. It also lasted 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.
This apple hazelnut cake is a great bake for autumn when both apples and hazelnuts are abundant. If you know anyone with apple trees, you should get lucky. They’re often more than happy to offload a few. I usually get a big bag or two of my mother’s unnamed Cornish cooking apples.
So the main task for this bake is peeling, coring and chopping apples. Except for the apple that goes on top. It’s best to use a dessert apple for this so that it keeps its shape. You also don’t need to peel this one, just core and slice it.
This was a cake of true dedication. I spent an age cracking the last of last year’s hazelnuts. They just happened to be small Cornish nuts gathered along the hedgerows and they are fiddly to crack. But please don’t let that put you off, you can just go and buy a packet of ready shelled hazelnuts. It’s what I usually do after all.
Once you have your hazelnuts, toast or roast them to bring out the flavour, then grind them up. The flavour of roasted hazelnuts permeates the whole cake. It’s so good.
A Week on the Lizard, Cornwall
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 it’s 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.
Here are a few highlights from our trip. They’re 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. It’s 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. Our first 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.
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you make this apple hazelnut cake, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
Choc Chip Apple Hazelnut Cake. PIN IT.
Apple Hazelnut Cake – The Recipe
Apple Hazelnut Cake with Sultanas and Milk Chocolate Chips
- 3 oz sultanas
- 1 tbsp brandy
- 3 oz hazelnuts
- 1 lb cooking apples
- 8 oz unsalted butter
- 6 oz golden caster sugar (I used cardamom sugar)
- 3 large eggs (I used duck eggs)
- 12 oz flour - half wholemeal, half plain
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- pinch sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 oz milk chocolate drops (40%)
- 1 dessert apple
- 2 tbsp demerara sugar
- Soak the sultanas in the brandy for at least a couple of hours, although overnight is better.
- Toast the hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until lightly brown.
- Allow to cool then blitz in a food processor or blender. I use a coffee grinder. Don't worry if the nuts aren't ground to a fine powder, it's good to get some texture in the cake.
- Peel, core and chop the apples
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one by one.
- Sieve in the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and stir until just incorporated.
- Gently mix in the hazelnuts, followed by the apple pieces.
- Stir in the sultanas and milk chocolate drops.
- Spoon into a 23cm round silicone cake mould or lined tin.
- Slice, but don't peel the dessert apple and arrange the slices around the top of the cake.
- Scatter the demerara sugar over the top.
- Bake for 45 mins in a preheated oven at 180℃ (350℉, Gas 4). Insert a skewer into the middle of the cake, if it comes out wet, you'll need to give the cake a few more minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool for fifteen minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Either eat immediately or wrap in parchment paper and store in an airtight tin for up to five days.