I was on leave from work last week, so I was able to attend my 3rd Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) meeting in Cornwall. This time it was in our lovely county city of Truro and in a newly opened cafe I’ve eyed up a couple of times, but not actually ventured into. Grounded specialises in coffee but also does some delicious sounding sandwiches to eat in or take away. Homemade cakes are also on offer.
I’d seen a fantastic hazelnut torte on a blog very recently and knew that’s what I wanted to make for this month’s theme of Italian tortes. I thought I’d bookmarked it, but when I came to find it, there was no sign; I couldn’t for the life of me remember where I’d seen it, so I googled with a number of different key words, but all to no avail. Luckily, Sophie Grigson came to my rescue with her Chocolate & Hazelnut Torte on the BBC Food website and as is my wont, I adapted it in a number of ways, including making it gluten free.
As many of you already know, I try to bake with us much organic, fairtrade or local produce as I can. I try to buy local where possible as not only is the food likely to be fresher, but it helps support the local economy and reduces food miles. Sadly chocolate and quite a few other things I buy cannot be grown in the UK – warmer climes than ours are needed. These ingredients are often the ones to look out for as mainstream products can leave small producers in developing countries open to exploitation. Fairtrade guarantees a minimum fair price for the producers and enables them to invest in schools, health centres and other local infrastructure projects. In a continued bid to raise awareness, The Fairtrade Foundation are running The Big Fair Bake campaign from 24th September – 7 October. Try your hand at winning a KitchenAid in their baking competition – I know I’m going to.
This is how I made it:
- Melted 100g of 85% dark Fairtrade chocolate plus 100g of 52% dark Fairtrade hazelnut chocolate in a bowl over hot, but not boiling, water.
- Removed from the heat and added 125g of diced unsalted butter. Stirred until smooth.
- Ground 90g of hazelnuts in a coffee grinder.
- Separated 3 large eggs and 1 tiny one into two bowls.
- Added 125g of Fairtrade caster sugar and 30g soft brown sugar to the egg yolks and beat until pale.
- Poured in the chocolate mixture and stirred until just incorporated.
- Sieved in 60g of buckwheat flour and 1/4 tsp GF baking powder.
- Folded this in with the ground hazelnuts.
- Stirred in 4 tbsp homemade orange liqueur – as lightly as possible.
- Whisked the eggs whites with a pinch of rock salt until stiff, then folded them into the chocolate mixture.
- Spooned into a 23cm mould and baked at 180C.
- Allowed to cool then turned out onto a plate.
- Dusted the cake with Fairtrade cocoa powder.
- Sifted 1 tsp icing sugar over some cappuccino stencils to create some interesting motifs.
The CCC turn-out was quite small, which was just as well as Grounded is quite compact and we would have been stuffed to the gunwales with more people and unable to get to the all-important cake. Luckily this wasn’t the case and for the first time ever, I was able to try a piece of every cake there. All of the tortes were delicious and luckily none of them were the same. Mine was moist, dense & hazelnutty with just a hint of orange and liqueur. CT, in true partisan spirit, pronounced it delicious and the best cake there.
As part of the Big Fair Bake Foodies 100 is running a baking challenge, whereby bloggers need to bake something using fairtrade ingredients and blog about it. This is my entry.
Whilst I’m on the subject of Fairtrade, Ndali Vanilla is the only vanilla that currently has fairtrade status. Following on from a recent visit to Uganda to report on Ndali Vanilla for the Food Programme on Radio 4, Vanessa Kimbell is organising a fairtrade vanilla gift swap on 24 September. You can see the details on her blog.