Just a dram

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Prep Makes Serves For a bit of a kick, add a splash of brandy or co­gnac to the ic­ing to con­trast the cake’s sweet­ness 30 min 35-40 min 12-16

But­ter, for greas­ing 350g dates, pit­ted and chopped

150g hazel­nuts, toasted and chopped finely

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla ex­tract 50g caster sugar 50g brown sugar 200g oil

140g plain flour

2 tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 tsp salt

100g plain yo­ghurt

For the pra­line top­ping 50g hazel­nuts, toasted and skins re­moved 50g wa­ter

200g caster sugar

For the ic­ing 4 tbsp wa­ter 300g ic­ing sugar

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. Grease two 18cm cake tins with but­ter and line with parch­ment. Mix the dates and hazel­nuts in a bowl and set aside.

Us­ing an elec­tric mixer, whisk to­gether the eggs, vanilla and sug­ars un­til light and fluffy. Keep whisk­ing and slowly driz­zle in the oil.

In an­other bowl, whisk the flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt. Add this to the egg mix­ture and whisk to com­bine. Whisk in the yo­ghurt, then fold in the dates and hazel­nuts.

Di­vide the mix be­tween the tins and bake for 35-45 min­utes. Leave to cool in the tins.

To make the top­ping, line a bak­ing tray with parch­ment and spread the hazel­nuts on the tray.

Put the wa­ter in a small, heavy­bot­tomed pan and sprin­kle in the caster sugar. Bring to the boil and, just as the sugar starts to caramelise, pour half of it over the hazel­nuts. Leave to cool and harden, then break into shards.

To make the ic­ing, add the wa­ter to the re­main­ing caramel, then pour the caramel from the pan into the ic­ing sugar and whisk to the con­sis­tency of soft but­ter­cream. Spread the ic­ing on the cooled cakes and top with the shards of pra­line. Prep Bake Serves 30 min 20 min 12-16

115g but­ter, melted, plus more for greas­ing 90g plain flour

1 tsp bak­ing pow­der 50g ground al­monds 40g ground hazel­nuts 40g ground pis­ta­chios 190g ic­ing sugar

5 egg whites, lightly whisked

2 tsp vanilla ex­tract 200g fresh rasp­ber­ries (about 40-50)

50g sliv­ered pis­ta­chios Ic­ing sugar, for dust­ing

Heat the oven to 160C/325F/gas 3. But­ter a 12-16 hole friand or cup­cake tin.

Weigh out all the first nine in­gre­di­ents into the bowl of a food pro­ces­sor and blitz un­til foamy (about one minute).

Spoon the mix­ture into the moulds, fill­ing them three-quar­ters full, then top each mould with two to three rasp­ber­ries and sprin­kle with the sliv­ered pis­ta­chios.

Bake for 15-20 min­utes, un­til the tops of the cakes are springy to the touch.

Leave the cakes to cool slightly in their moulds, then re­move and dust with ic­ing sugar. They will keep well in an air­tight con­tainer for a few days. All recipes from

The Vi­o­let Bak­ery Cook­book by Claire Ptak (Square Peg).

Claire Ptak runs Vi­o­let bak­ery in Lon­don. She will be bak­ing the royal wed­ding cake. @vi­o­let­cakeslon­don

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