This is our 4th bake for The Home Bakers! The chosen cake this time is originally a Pear Pinwheel and Hazelnut Cake by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids - I know I know... my cake looks nothing like a pinwheel at all and the name of my cake is apple instead of pear...
Well, I tried hunting down this Anjou / Bosc pears that was originally stated in the recipe, but I couldn't find them at all. On the other hand, there were so many other types of pears to choose from that made me so lost and confused, so I decided to just use Granny Smith apples instead.
As for the pinwheel part, I baked only ½ of the recipe and though I could have baked it in a very tiny pan, I saw my heart-shaped silicon mould lying in the back of my cupboard... (the last time I used it was like... probably a year or more ago?!) So heart-shape cakes they became!
Making this cake is definitely not difficult, just that extra time is needed to toast and grind the nuts and peel, core and slice the apples. I decided to mix in huge chunks of apples into the cake, hoping to give it a more apple taste.
The resulting cake is sweet, sour, nutty and cinnamon-y at the same time. The hazelnut taste really came through very strongly in the cake and the apples lend the cake a nice sweet and sour taste. The cinnamon's a bit too strong for my mom but I quite liked the overall taste. The apples that are mixed inside are very soft and mushy, while the ones on top are slightly firmer. The cakes are also very, very moist, probably a bit too moist for me.
Overall, I like the cake base because it's easy and very nutty (I would try substituting with other nuts in the future), but I would probably swap out the apples for berries or chocolate (imagine hazelnut and nutella!) the next time I bake them.
And now for the step-by-step photos!
Toast the hazelnuts in a 180 degrees Celsius oven for 10 minutes.
Let the toasted nuts cool completely and combine it with some flour in a food processor.
Pulse the nuts until they are powdery.
(One trick that I've found out when grinding nuts is to not grind them for too long at one time in the food processor. Pulse them several times, resting for a while between pulses. This will greatly help in preventing the ground nuts from clumping together. I suspect this is because continuous grinding heat up the blades which in turn heat up the nuts, causing them to release more oil, making them clumpy.)
In a mixing bowl, combine brown sugar and some room temperature unsalted butter.
Beat with an electric mixer and add in 1 egg.
Beat again until the egg has been fully incorporated then dump in the nut-flour mixture.
Fold until fully incorporated - the mixture will be slightly lumpy if your nuts are not fine enough, but no worries!
Refrigerate the batter while you prepare the apples.
Peel the apple and cut it into half...
... then into quarters.
Remove both ends.
Place the knife at a diagonal at the core of the apple and gently slice it in halfway.
Turn the apple 180 degrees and do the same thing, then twist the knife upwards and the core should come out easily.
Something like this!
Slice the apple into half...
... Then turn it 90 degrees and dice it.
Repeat for all the apples, except for ½ apple, which I sliced it for the topping
Place the diced apples in a small bowl.
Add in flour and cinnamon and toss to coat.
Add into the batter and mix it in.
Divide the batter among the muffin-lined pans (or any cute pans you may have).
Top with the reserved slices of apple (I ended up with 6 mini-cakes but I only had 10 slices... so one was without the topping.)
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Do join us at The Home Bakers (click on the picture for more information!)
I'm going to list down the ingredients I used for this recipe as I've made quite a bit of changes, for the instructions, please visit Zoe's blog!
And do hop over here to see other bloggers' beautiful bakes!
Apple Hazelnut Cake (makes 6 mini-cakes)
adapted from Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas.
55 grams hazelnuts, toasted and cooled
1 ½ tablespoons plain flour
4 tablespoons (55 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons tightly packed (40 grams) brown sugar
1 ½ Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced (to be mixed into the batter)
½ Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced (to be place on top of the cake before baking)
1 tablespoon plain flour
½ tablespoon cinnamon