For the October Loire Valley CCC meeting Nick chose this recipe from the BBC Good Food website. The theme of the meeting was “a taste of autumn” and nuts are very much in abundance in the Loire this autumn as there has been a particularly good nut harvest.
Strictly speaking the plum season is long gone but French plums were still available in the shops so that was ok. It was the combination of flavours that intrigued us both – plums with nuts was not too far fetched - but chocolate?
The cake was easy to make and Nick did a great job of making it look very glamorous. There were chopped plums in the cake and plum halves were arranged on the top then just pushed lightly into the batter. He decided to omit the whole hazelnuts that he was supposed to scatter on the top, and I think this was a good idea. The cake took nearly 25 minutes longer than stated to cook, by which time those hazelnuts could have been pretty crozzled, making the cake look rather untidy perhaps. He finished it off with a redcurrant glaze which added to its beauty!
As it turned out the flavour combination worked really well. It was delicious, the flavour of the hazelnuts and the plums coming through with a nice hit of chocolate in each mouthful. A stunning cake that looks much more difficult to make than it really is and we shall definitely be making it again.
This month’s Alphabakes Challenge, run by Ros of The more than occasional baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes is conveniently themed on the letter H this month so Nick’s cake fits in perfectly with that. You can see the details here.
The selection of cakes at the October meeting was absolutely stunning. When I started the club I had no idea whether or not there would be enough interest but I have to say that it has been a tremendous success. If you want to read more about it follow this link. Loire Valley CCC.
175g light muscovado sugar
175g self raising flour
175g ground hazelnuts
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 tsp redcurrant jelly
Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160° fan / gas mk 4. Butter and line the base of a 20cm deep cake tin.
Set aside four plums for the top of the cake, halve and stone the rest and chop roughly. Chop the chocolate. Neither should be chopped too small.
Beat together the butter, sugar, flour, nuts, eggs and baking powder in a large bowl or food mixer until smooth and light. Stir in the plums and chocolate.
Transfer the mixture to the cake tin and level the top. Halve and stone the reserved plums and arrange on the top. Push them down lightly into the batter.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until browned and firm to the touch. (Our cake took 65 minutes until it no longer wobbled in the middle.)
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When cool, warm the redcurrant jelly in a small pan until runny and brush over the top of the cake.
Cuts into 10-12 slices.