Damson and Hazelnut Cake
Damsons leak their intense, garnet-coloured juices into this simple batter cake, while toasted hazelnuts add texture. Eat the cake warm from the oven as a pudding with whipped cream, or serve cold with a cup of tea or coffee. Store any leftovers in an airtight tin and the cake will go on absorbing the juices from the damsons, becoming gloriously damp as it matures.
- 500g damsons
- 40g shelled hazelnuts
- 80ml milk
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of fine salt
- 250g caster sugar
- 170g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the cake tin
- 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A little butter, for greasing the cake tin and dotting the top of the cake
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Butter and flour a 22cm springform cake tin.
- Wash the damsons and stone them. We find the easiest way to do this is to cut around the stone following the natural line in the fruit, then twist one half of the fruit away from the other and then picking or levering out the stone. Cut the fruit into quarters and set aside.
- Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet, and put them in oven. Roast them for 10 minutes (set a timer to remind, it’s easy to forget!), then remove them and tip them into a clean tea towel. Rub the hazelnuts inside the cloth to remove the brown papery skins, then chop the nuts finely. Turn the oven temperature up to 190˚C in preparation for baking the cake.
- Put the milk, eggs and vanilla into a large bowl and beat them together with a whisk. Add the salt and caster sugar, and beat again until the sugar is dissolved. Whisky in the flour to make a light, liquid batter. Fold in the damsons and hazelnuts, then pour the mixture into the tin and level it smooth with a palette knife.
- In a small bowl, mix the granulated sugar with the ground cinnamon, then scatter this mixture all over the surface of the cake. Cut a few small knobs of butter and dot them evenly over the top of the cake.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, until the cake is risen and springy and the top is golden brown. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it in the tin to cool on a rack for a ten minutes. Run a palette knife around the edge of the cake and unclip the outer ring. Use the palette knife to loosen the cake from the bottom of the tin.
- Serve warm or leave to cool.
Recipe and photos by Otherwise for Wild Food UK