Moist dense and nutty heaven, this loaf cake is delicious served hot or cold. The delicate toffee flavour works brilliantly with those rich and smokey roasted hazels to make the loaf taste extra special.
Adapted from the Toffee Cake recipe by Aaron Maree in his wonderful book from the early 1990s, Cakes, Tortes & Gateaux of the World. Buy the book on Amazon here.
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
250g light muscovado sugar
1 and a half teaspoons vanilla extract
200g self raising flour
125g dark chocolate
for decoration: 1 tablespoon cocoa powder & 1 tablespoon icing sugar
1. Turn the oven to 190C (170C fan ovens), and grease and line a 1lb loaf tin.
2. Place the hazelnuts on a baking tray and bake in the oven for approx 4 minutes to roast them. Take out of the oven and leave to cool, before removing their skins and cutting the nuts into small pieces.
3. While the hazels are roasting, break the chocolate into small chunks and melt gently over a low heat hob. Take off the heat as soon as all the chocolate is melted, and leave to cool slightly.
4. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, before adding the vanilla extract.
5. Beat in the first egg, beating until well combined. Add the 2nd egg, plus a third of the sifted flour, and combine. Beat in the 3rd egg.
6. Then pour in the cooled melted chocolate, stirring it into the batter quickly.
7. Add the rest of the sifted flour, stirring gently to combine, before finally throwing in the chopped hazelnuts and mixing them into the batter with a wooden spoon.
8. Pour the batter into the tin until it reaches the top (you may find you have a few spoonfuls leftover as a cook's perk!) and bake for 40-50 minutes. You'll know it's done when a skewer comes out clean.
9. Take out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
10. When cooled, remove the cake from the tin and place on a plate. Dust with cocoa powder and icing sugar to decorate.
This cake was idly baked while listening to Lauren Laverne's radio show on BBC 6 Music