DH was headed up north to see his Aunt, Uncle and cousin who was visiting from Israel. We had originally all intended to go, but having spent 10 hours in the car with Kipper going up and down the M6 less than two weeks previously, we decided that she and I would send our apologies. And a cake, to soften the blow.
I asked DH what sort of cake, and he muttered something unhelpfully vague, but followed it with, “but put some of the chocolate icing you put on my birthday cake on it.”
It had been DH’s birthday the week before, and Kipper and I had made him a huge marble cake to take to work. We’d slathered it in fudgy dark chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Can’t have birthday cake without sprinkles. Anyway, apparently the cake had been good, but the icing was outstanding. Right then.
As Kipper explored the woods on a cold almost-spring morning, I thought about cake. And about flavours that would go well under a blanket of chocolate icing. Chocolate cake would be altogether too chocolatey, I thought. Vanilla cake too ordinary. Orange? Perhaps. Then I had an inspiration – PEAR cake with chocolate topping. Yum. Or better yet, pear and cinnamon cake with chocolate topping. Mmmmm.
Alas, the pear cake will have to wait, because when I got home and got busy with the baking equipment, I discovered that we’d eaten all the pears. OK then, almond and cinnamon. No almonds. Fine. HAZELNUT and cinnamon. That works. Right.
As I was reaching for the cinnamon, I decided to use my speculaas spice instead – it’s like cinnamon, only with added yum. (If you don’t have any, use plain cinnamon, or mixed spice instead.)
And thus was born, spiced hazelnut loaf cake with chocolate fudge frosting. I actually made two of these hazelnut loaf cakes, so that DH would have one to take, and Kipper and I could enjoy one at home too.
It went down well with the recipients, and we thoroughly enjoyed the one I kept for home. A visitor who is currently breastfeeding her nearly-1-year-old scoffed two large slabs 🙂 . DH and I are working through the rest of it, and I’m delighted to say that it has stayed deliciously moist, probably because of all those nuts and the brown sugar.
Recipe makes one spiced hazelnut loaf cake. Serves 1+ !!
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Spiced hazelnut loaf cake with chocolate fudge frosting
A moist and nutty cake, smothered in rich and delicious dark chocolate frosting
- 115 g butter or margarine (1/2 cup)
- 125 g demerara sugar (scant 2/3 cup)
- 2 eggs
- 150 g self-raising flour (1 1/4 cups)
- 65 g ground hazelnuts (2/3 cup)
- 1 tsp speculaas spice mix (or mixed spice or cinnamon)
- Pinch salt
- 25 ml apple juice + 25ml water (approx 3 tbsp liquid total)
For the chocolate frosting
- 40 g dark chocolate (approx 1/3 cup chocolate chips)
- 1 tbsp butter or margarine
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F). Line a 1lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter/margarine with the sugar till pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time and mix in. Follow each egg with a spoonful or two of flour. When both eggs are incorporated, add the rest of the flour, the hazelnuts, spice and salt, and mix well to thoroughly combine.
Add just enough of the water/juice mixture to give a loose dropping consistency. You may need slightly more or slightly less than 50ml.
Pour into the prepared tin and tap to level the mixture. Bake at 180C for around 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
To make the frosting
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave. Stir well to ensure no lumps of chocolate remain, then allow to cool for a few minutes.
Add the butter or margarine a little at a time, beating it in well. When it is all incorporated, the frosting should be thick, fudgy and glossy.
Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake and leave to set.
This month, Family Foodies (organised by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash) is on the theme of ‘Let’s get baking!’ This delicious loaf cake was enjoyed by our whole family, and as you can imagine, Kipper gave me a ‘helping hand’ making it 🙂
I’m also entering it into Alphabakes – this month’s letter is S as in SPICED hazelnut cake! Alphabakes is organised by The More than Occasional Baker (who is also hosting this month) and Caroline Makes.