Hazelnut Cake Slices with Sugar Baked Plums

My return to the blogging world was supposed to be with a cute little raspberry buttercream hazelnut cake. It was my intention to cook or bake every other day during my three week vacation, but sadly none of that happened. I was too comfortable either on the couch with a ton of books and litres of coffee or, during this last week, on the balcony in my deck chair enjoying the sun.

So a few days ago I gave myself the necessary kick in the behind, adapted a recipe from the cake decoration course I attended back in January, made buttercream that I had also made before, just added fresh raspberries and even went to the length to sieve the whole thing to avoid pips. It was all for nothing, as the buttercream looked absolutely awful. Still, I assembled the cake, covered it in the buttercream but looking at the result could not be bothered to even get the piping bag out to try and make it look nicer. In spite of this disaster, that little cake tasted absolutely delicious.

I had halved the ingredients of the recipe from the course and filled three dessert rings with the batter to get mini cakes. After the buttercream debacle I decided to use the remaining two for something else. One I also cut into slices, spread lemon curd on each slice, assembled them, and then poured some leftover chocolate filling from the Jamie Oliver chocolate tartlets that I had made earlier over the concoction. This one didn’t look nice either, but tasted good, too, considering it was an emergency solution.

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It only came to me this morning what I was going to do with the third little cake. I remembered two things: 1 – I had plums in the fridge that needed to be used up, and 2 – I had seen Jody & Ken from The Garum Factory roasting plums in the oven. That’s what I wanted to do.

This couldn’t have turned out better if I had planned it – hazelnut cake, chocolate, roasted plums, and crème double. I might just make this as dessert for dinner guests sometime soon, it was that good. The chopped hazelnuts as well as the syrup are clearly discernible, and the sugared plums together with the double cream… heavenly, if I say so myself!

Please note that the cake needs to be made ahead (anything from 4 hours to 2 days)!

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Hazelnut Cake Slices with Sugar Baked Plums

100 g very soft butter
90 g sugar
1 packet vanilla sugar
2 eggs, separated
20 ml milk
75 g flour
30 g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3 tsp chopped roasted hazelnuts
2 tsp hazelnut syrup
melted chocolate [see comment below]

makes 3 dessert ring sized cakes

2 large plums
light raw cane sugar
dark brown muscavado sugar
double cream or crème double to serve

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Preheat oven to 175°C / 350°F. Line a small baking tray with baking paper.

Mix flour, cornflour baking powder and cocoa together.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until very creamy, about 3 minutes. [I actually did this by hand and set a timer. Very rewarding to see it all come together!] Add egg yolks one after the other and mix thoroughly.

Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and stir well. Add hazelnuts and hazelnut syrup.

Beat egg whites until they form stiff peaks, then carefully add to the batter.

Butter the insides of the dessert rings, then divide batter between them. Bake for 30 minutes, checking consistency with a wooden skewer after 20 minutes.

Let cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the dessert rings and let cool further on a cooling rack.

Once the cakes have cooled down completely, cut them into 1 – 1.5 cm slices, then use any kind of melted chocolate to coat the tops. [I’ve used leftover filling from Jamie Oliver’s chocolate tart, but you can either melt chocolate in the microwave, or melt some over a bain marie if it’s not too much work for you.]

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Prepare the plums about 30 minutes before serving: Heat oven to 200°C / 400°F. Cut plums into approximately 8 slices, halve those sideways, place them on a small baking tray, then sprinkle with the raw cane sugar. The plums should be coated but not drowned in sugar. Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, then take out, stir them around and sprinkle generously with the dark muscavado sugar. Bake for another 10 – 12 minutes.

While the plums are in the oven, arrange the cake slices on a large plate or tray, chocolate side up. Once the plums are done, pour them over the cake slices, directly from the baking tray, making sure to get as much sugary juice and goo onto the plate or tray as possible. It’s supposed to look messy, so don’t worry about arranging it carefully!

Serve warm with double cream or crème double.

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