Just a dram
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
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