Saturday, 11 September 2010

Cobnut apple syrup cake with blackberries and cream

200g shelled cobnuts, or hazelnuts
175g softened butter
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
55g self-raising flour
1 grated apple
120g golden caster sugar
150ml pressed apple juice
300ml double cream
1 tbsp golden icing sugar, sifted
500g blackberries, rinsed and left on a kitchen towel to drain

Preheat the oven to 175C/gas mark 4; butter two 18cm sandwich tins, then dust with flour. Put the nuts in a pan and toast over a medium heat until the thin membranes begin to loosen and flake.
Put the nuts in a towel and rub off as much of the skin as possible. Discard the skins, grind the toasted nuts to a rough powder and set aside 120g for the cake and 80g for the filling. Put the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one by one, with a teaspoon of flour, then stir in any remaining flour, the ground nuts (120g) and grated apple. Divide between the two tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn out the cakes on a rack to cool before transferring them to a plate. Prick each sponge with a fork six times.
To make the apple syrup, put the sugar in a pan and pour over the apple juice. Bring to the boil and simmer for about two minutes. Allow to cool a little then pour over the cakes. Whip the cream, fold in the icing sugar and the remaining 80g of nuts then sandwich the cakes together using about three tablespoons of the cream mix. Spread the rest of the cream on top of the cake and dot with blackberries. If you wish, you can serve each cake separately, drenched with the syrup and with the blackberries and cream on the side.

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