Ned's hazelnut and toffee apple Christmas cake

Img 4756

Every year we challenge Head Gardener Ned to create an alternative Christmas cake using produce from the Glut orchards. This year we think he’s outdone himself with this luxuriously indulgent hazelnut cake, decorated with apples, Cape gooseberries and caramel whiskers. Happy Christmas everyone!

3 eggs

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

300g caster sugar

230g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

230g butter, melted

3 apples, peeled and cored

150g roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped

1 pack of Cape gooseberries

Heat the oven to 180C and line a 24cm loose bottomed cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Set aside 70g of caster sugar for the caramel topping.

Cut one apple into slices and set aside. Chop the remaining apples into bite-size chunks.

Beat the eggs, spices and 230g of the caster sugar until foamy, and then stir in the flour and baking powder. Pour in the melted butter and beat well.

Fold the chopped apple and hazelnuts into the cake batter, then pour into the lined tin and bake for an hour until golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Whilst the cake is cooling, make the caramel by placing the remaining sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Swirl the pan a little and when the sugar has turned into a light golden caramel, take the pan off the heat.

Using tongs, dip the apple slices into the caramel, then arrange them artfully on top of the cake.

Peel back the papery calyxes of the Physalis and dip them into the caramel before arranging them over the cake too.

If the caramel solidifies, melt it again slightly, then draw strands of it from the pan with a wooden spoon, and swirl them around the cake to create caramelly whiskers.

When the cake is looking suitably festive, dust the entire confection with a smattering of icing sugar snow!