Cake soon I promise, but first let me say how much I enjoyed the comments on my last post about not wearing makeup. I knew I wasn't alone. I was struck particularly by how often the words pale/washed out/faded/ ill looking cropped up as reasons for wearing makeup. I have to say I think this is a learned response. How often do you look at a man and think how pale or washed out he looks? Why is looking pale a bad thing? What will happen if people think you look pale? I'm willing to bet they won't even notice.
One final thing 'You don't owe prettiness to anyone'.
Ok, back to important things. Cake.
When my friend Tracy gave me some hazelnuts from her garden I knew they'd be the perfect ingredient around which to base my October cake.
Pears are at their best at this time of year so also perfect for my October cake. Adding chocolate was a no-brainer.
I used the recipe for 'a great chocolate cake for family, friends, dessert, tea, birthdays...' in Nigel Slater's Appetite as a framework for my cake. The whole point of the recipes in this book are that they can and should be used as blueprints.
I used fewer nuts and less chocolate, I added pears and swapped the demerara sugar for light soft brown sugar and I omitted the coffee. The result was, if I may say so, delicious.
Hazelnut, Chocolate and Pear Cake
Grease and base-line a 9"/23cm cake tin with a removable bottom.
Chop into small pieces to resemble gravel (see fourth picture)
150g hazelnuts (I toasted mine slightly in a dry frying pan but I wouldn't say this was essential)
100g dark chocolate
By hand or by food processor is fine.
Peel, core and chop into chunks about 1 cm big
1-2 pears my pears were big and I didn't use all the chunks. You're aiming for enough to scatter over the surface of the cake.
Cream together until fluffy
250g soft butter
250g light soft brown sugar
Add one by one
4 large eggs
Beat well so that each egg is well mixed in before you add the next one.
Sift together then fold into the creamed mixture
250g plain flour
2 rounded teaspoons of baking powder
half a teaspoon of salt
Stir in most of the chocolate and nuts reserving a handful to scatter on the top of the cake.
Scrape the mixture into the cake tin and level the surface.
Scatter the pear chunks over the top of the cake.
Finish with the reserved chocolate and nuts.
Bake at 180°c (160°c fan oven) for 1 hour and 20 minutes until a skewer comes out of the cake clean.
This cake won't keep for very long because of the pears in it, so eat it up quickly. Tough, I know.