18th April 2012
Right, it was time for me to get back in the kitchen and baking again. It had been over a week since I had last baked anything from the Bible and I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms!
With the husband back at work and the children back at school, I had the house to myself (well apart from the dog and as soon as I pick Mary’s Bible up he just looks at me, sighs and takes himself off to his bed or sofa).
I have been looking at this recipe a lot in the past month, I think it’s the unusual title and the fact that ‘hazlenuts’ are mentioned in the brief description at the beginning of the recipe. I knew I didn’t have any hazelnuts in the house so it was off to do the weekly shop first. In hindsight I should have read how many hazelnuts were required, I wasn’t sure so bought two bags (200g), I actually only needed 50g – never mind hopefully there are a few more recipes that require hazelnuts!
So radio on, oven on to preheat and a 20cm deep round cake tin greased and the base lined – I was ready to bake!
First of all Mary says to prepare the hazelnuts by baking them for 10 minutes to warm them up to make it easier to remove the skins. The ones I had purchased had already had their skins removed so it was on to the next step. The nuts had to be placed into a food processor and ground. I didn’t want to get my big food processor out, but remembered when the children were smaller I bought a tiny processor which was big enough to do a few portions of baby food at a time, so it was into the back of the cupboard to find it. Once found it was dusted and plugged in. I noticed the processor had a ‘grind’ button, so in went the hazelnuts and they were soon turned into ground hazelnuts.
Next into a separate bowl went the softened butter (well it was after a quick blast in the microwave!) together with the sugar. These were beaten until light and fluffy and then two large egg yolks were added (the whites saved for later in the recipe). The nuts were also stirred in. I could have quite easily have stopped right here and eaten the whole mixture!
Into this went the warm milk which had a teaspoon of coffee dissolved in it, together with the flour, which had to be carefully folded in. The mixture seemed quite stiff now, almost bordering on the consistency of a soft dough.
The egg whites were then whisked until they formed soft peaks and this was gently folded into the cake mixture. The mixture was turned into the tin and levelled. This is the point I began to worry. There didn’t appear to be very much mixture and Mary did state a ‘deep tin’, this was enough mixture for a sandwich tin. Doubts were beginning to set in and the memory of the ‘coffee and walnut cake’ sprang to mind.
Anyway into the oven it went for 25 minutes. I didn’t think it was quite done after this time so left it for another few minutes and then removed it from the oven. It hadn’t risen very much! I turned the cake out onto a wire rack – the cake looked incredibly thin as I said before it was as though it was one half of a Victoria sandwich cake. I checked through the ingredients and the method just in case I had missed something, but no I had done everything that had to be done.
I decided to google ‘Nusskuchen’ as there was no picture in Mary’s book, so I wasn’t entirely sure what it should look like – I didn’t think it should be this thin even though there was a filling still to add. After googling it, it came up with lots of picture of very different looking cakes – most of them appeared to have been baked in a loaf tin, but I did find one other person who had made this cake from Mary’s book and she too had been surprised at how thin it was, so hopefully mine was ok.
The next stage was to bake the filling. This consisted of some dessert apples together with a couple of spoons of apricot jam and half the juice and rind of a lemon. I’m not sure I actually got very much juice from my lemon as in the half I squeezed there were 15 lemon pips – I wonder if this is a record! The mixture was gently heated on the hob until the apples were soft. These then had to cool.
Whilst waiting for the mixture to cool I thought I would take the dog out for a walk and couldn’t believe that I actually managed to take him on his walk and avoid the rain completely. A big black cloud followed us all around Speen Moors but luckily not one drop of rain fell. I was wrapped up in my raincoat and was absolutely boiling by the time we came back as somehow we managed to walk in the sun the whole way round the Moors.
So back to baking – the apple mixture had now cooled and I was pleased to see that the excess liquid had been absorbed by the apples. The cake now had to be cut in half horizontally – I ran a knife all the way round the cake and very gently sliced it in half – I was concerned it might fall apart as it seemed very thin. However it stayed in one (well two) piece(s)!
The two halves were sandwiched together with the apple mixture – it didn’t look too bad now. Next I had to melt some plain chocolate and this was then spread onto the top of the cake. It was then a case of leaving the chocolate to set. By this time my daughter had arrived home from school, so within ten minutes the first slice had gone!
I was concerned this cake was thin, but on reading through the recipe again Mary states it serves 6, so thinking about it, I believe it should be thin as there is no way you could eat one-sixth of a cake if it was huge – could you …
The cake was lovely and moist and you could taste the hazelnuts and a hint of coffee – another one to be added to the bake again list!