This week I'll be buying my Christmas tree, hanging fairy lights and starting on those epic batches of gingerbread tree decorations and mince pies for family visits. Even though I love Christmas, I'm always a bit sad that Autumn has been and gone so I wanted to say farewell to my favourite season with this simple apple and hazelnut cake. I made this a few weeks ago while there were still apples on the tree in our little garden - the rest are destined for mincemeat and chutney. This is an easy cake to put together and the glaze can go on while the cake is still warm so no need to wait before you get to eat it.
Apple & Hazelnut Cake
150g blanched hazelnuts
250g apple, peeled and cored (2-3 eating apples like Granny Smith)
250g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
250g soft light brown sugar
3 medium eggs
250g plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
For the glaze and topping:
50g blanched hazelnuts
150g icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan assisted) / Gas Mark 4 and butter and line the base of a 9 inch (23cm) springform cake tin with baking paper. Spread the hazelnuts for the cake and the topping onto a baking tray and roast for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and aromatic. Set aside to cool slightly and roughly chop. Meanwhile, coarsely grate 150g of the apple and cut the remaining 100g into 1cm cubes.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and set aside. Place the butter, sugar and eggs into a clean bowl and beat with an electric mixer until pale. Add the flour mixture and beat until just combined scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as you go. Fold in the apple and 150g of the hazelnuts until just combined.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a pallette knife. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then release the sides of the tin and transfer to a wire rack.
To make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and whisk in 2 tablespoons of water. Brush or drizzle the glaze onto the cake and sprinkle over the remaining chopped hazelnuts.