Nadiya Hussain's Honey Cake with Salted Hazelnuts
This looks like a cake, but in fact it’s made with eight biscuit-like rounds that are flavoured with honey and browned butter, then moistened with a sweet and slightly sour cream and stacked up. The end result is round and cuts like a cake, so that’s what I’m calling it, but to be honest I don’t care about labels, all I know is it’s delicious.
|For the cake:|
|120g||golden caster sugar|
|2||medium eggs, lightly beaten|
|1 tsp||bicarbonate of soda|
|500g||plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting|
|For the filling:|
|1 tsp||vanilla bean paste|
|For the decoration:|
|100g||roasted chopped hazelnuts|
Prep: 1 hour plus chilling. Cook: 26–28 minutes (baking in four batches of two biscuits)
Put the butter in a small saucepan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and let it begin to brown. As soon as the little grains of milk solids become dark, take off the heat. Add the honey and sugar and heat until the sugar has dissolved, then tip into a large bowl and leave to cool for 15 minutes.
Add the eggs and mix well. Now add the bicarbonate of soda and the flour and mix till a smooth dough forms. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Roll the dough into a sausage shape and divide into eight equal pieces. You can weigh them if you want to be exact. Dust the work surface and your hands generously and shape the eight pieces into balls.
Line two baking trays with baking paper and preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4. Find an 18cm round template (e.g. a plate or the base of a cake tin).
Dust a ball of dough with flour, then place between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to about 3mm thick. Use the template to cut it into a circle, being sure to keep all of the scraps. Repeat with all eight balls.
Pop the circles onto the baking trays (however many will fit) and bake for just 5 minutes. As soon as they are baked, take off the tray, pop onto a wire rack and repeat until you have done all eight.
Arrange the scraps in an even layer across the two trays and bake for about 6–8 minutes until they are really crisp and golden. Take them out and leave to one side.
Make the filling by mixing together the soured cream and the icing sugar really well. Add the double cream to a bowl and whip to soft peaks. Fold in the soured cream mixture, honey and vanilla.
It is best to assemble this cake directly onto your serving plate (one that can fit in your fridge). Use a dab of the cream to secure the first circle onto the serving dish. Drop about 5 tablespoons of the cream mixture on top and carefully spread evenly all over. Put the next circle on and repeat until you have done all eight layers.
You should have enough cream to cover the top and sides, so do exactly that and smooth over as best you can. It doesn’t have to be perfect, because we are going to really cover this up.
Put the baked scraps in a food processor and blitz to a fine crumb. Mix in the roasted hazelnuts and salt.
For extra decoration I like to use a template to create a heart shape in the crumbs on the top of the cake, but choose whatever shape you like – even use a doily, if you can find one or know what one is! If you don’t want to use a template, just mark a heart (or other shape) on the icing with a table knife and use that as a guide for where to stick the crumbs.
Take the crumbs and gently press them onto the sides and the top around your template, if using, before removing it. You might have to pipe more icing onto your shape to neaten up the edges. Now put into the fridge to set and chill.
Serve with some fresh berries.