April 7, 2013

Hazelnut Cake with Cherries


A short but sweet post for today...lots of spring cleaning inside and outside, soccer games, unveiling the grill for some long-awaited outdoor meals...you know what I mean.  So, what could be better than a super-easy, come-together-in-a-flash coffee cake recipe, I ask?  Not much, especially when the spring fruit bounty has yet to make a real appearance.  I had some hazelnut flour languishing in the fridge and a bag of frozen cherries hibernating in the freezer, and decided it was time the two should meet.




I found just the inspiration I was looking for at Pastry Studio, one of my favorite blogs for sweet stuff.  This is a tweaked version of her Yogurt Cake recipe which I was so happy to find since it is a good-for-you-delicious cake made with yogurt and olive oil.  I took things up a notch with the hazelnut flour and whole grain flour, to boost the healthy aspects and to compliment this particular flavor profile.  I think whole wheat flours add a lovely complexity of taste and texture in desserts when added judiciously.  Frozen fruit is a great go-to for all kinds of recipes, but I do try to use fresh when fresh is at its best.  Some lovely frozen cherries were featured here.


























Have you baked with hazelnut flour before?  I am fairly new to using it, but have been happy with the results so far, and love the fact that it is a nut-based flour (I try to add as many heart-healthy ingredients to my diet as possible, even the sweet stuff).  My next experiment will be with some shortcakes once the fresh berries are available...I'm thinking fresh raspberries...blackberries...?  The possibilites are endless as this is a very versatile recipe and begs to be played with.


Some additional changes to the original recipe included the addition of some ground coriander, which goes lovely with cherries (not to mention many other fruits and desserts), and I skipped the lemon zest  this version (but will definitely use it the next time I go citrus with this recipe as in the original).  







The flavor of the cake is fabulous and would be fine with just a dusting of powdered sugar, especially for tea or coffee.  I decided to make a mascarpone cream (one part mascarpone two parts Greek yogurt, and some powdered sugar), and briefly boiled together come chopped dried cherries with some berry reduction, for a cherry sauce which accentuated the cherry flavors in the cake perfectly.  You will probably want to finish it one way or another as this cake cries out for just a little bling (not exactly homely, but probably won't win any beauty pageants either).



We had a very, almost-rainy kind of day, so the pictures that came out well were limited.  I wish you could really see the crumb on this cake--so very light and moist.  The flecks of hazelnuts are so beautiful and add not only visual interest but a subtle nutty flavor.  Even those who don't like hazelnuts would still love this cake, I think, as the hazelnut flavor is not very pronounced but lends a delicious background complexity that lets the fruit shine.  The addition of some chopped hazelnuts would be a deletable addition, though, for those of us who really love the hazelnut flavor (Nutella and I go way back...just sayin').  


A spring-is-almost-here celebration cake.  One that won't take you away too long from all those spring-is-almost-here activities.  One that makes those scurrying grey clouds and rumbles outside more tolerable, since the sunshine is surely on the way and the grey clouds won't last for long...here today, gone tomorrow...just like this cake.


Hazelnut Cake:
3/4 cup hazelnut flour
3/4 cup spelt flour, whole wheat flour or any other flour of choice
1 tablespoon baking powder (can reduce to 2 tsp if not using any whole wheat flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup sugar, preferably natural
3 eggs, preferably organic
3/4 cup plain yogurt (I used 1/2 cup Greek and 1/4 cup regular)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

10 ounces of frozen cherries (or fruit of choice) tossed with 1 tbs of sugar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. and grease a 9-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (don't skip this step...you will be sad, very sad indeed).

Sift together the spelt flour, baking powder, salt and coriander.  In large mixing bowl, mix together the olive oil, sugar, eggs, yogurt and vanilla.  Stir the hazelnut flour and sifted flour mixture.  Gently fold in the fruit, and pour into the prepared pan.  Bake approximately 30 to 35 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry.  Cool on a rack for approximately 10 minutes, then remove the outer ring (I use a thin plastic spatula to run along the edge before removing the ring).  Place a serving plate over the cake, and gently invert onto the plate.  Carefully remove the parchment paper, and cool completely.  Dust with powdered sugar, or serve with some mascarpone/yogurt that has been slightly sweetened.  I also boiled some chopped dried cherries with some reserved berry juice (you could use jam), and cooled before serving with the cream.

9 comments:

  1. This is a great every-season dessert if you want my opinion. It looks really lovely!

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  2. This is absolutely amazing!!

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  3. Kim! Always so great to hear from you (and I humbly agree with you in this instance...it really is a great cake). And, Dear Anonymous...VERY kind of you! You don't know how much I appreciate the positive feedback!

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  4. OMG, this is absolutely gorgeous and right in my wheelhouse of fabulous flavors!! Hazelnuts and cherries are two of my favorite things. Wowie, I am drooling here!!

    Thanks so much for the mention. I love what you did with this cake. Cheers!

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    1. Dearest Pastry...thank you so much for the kudos. You provided the inspiration, I just ran with it! Looking forward to other delicious ideas from your blog. Hope you come back for a visit soon!

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  5. The ground coriander in the ingredient list, intrigued me.We Indians do lot of baking with ground cardamom but the coriander is absolutely new for me. The texture of your cake looks amazing and the cherries on top are to die for.
    Thanks for the share.

    Puja

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  6. Hi Puja! Thanks so much for stopping by. I also LOVE using ground cardamom in my baking (you'll see it featured in lots of my recipes) AND ground coriander as well. The ground coriander adds lust a little hint of something special to the cake, and goes wonderfully with the cherries. Thank you for the nice comments...hope you'll come for another visit soon!

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  7. Very tempting! The cake looks fabulous, the addition of ground coriander sounds interesting. Thanks for visiting me and for your sweet words :)

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  8. Hi Ambreen...thank you, too! Hope you'll come back...and will give the coriander a try!

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So glad you came by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!