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Hazelnut and Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and Caramel

This is a great autumnal celebration cake! Its large, but you could easily half the recipe for a smaller cake or even a tray cake. The decorations are completely optional, the are a little fiddly and time consuming but look very pretty, just make sure to do it shortly before you want to serve the cake as he caramel can weep and melt if its left too long. There is a mix of butter and oil in the mixture so you can store the cake in the fridge but it is better at room temperature so the butter in the cake and icing isn’t solid.


Serves 10 -12

Prep time 1.5 hrs

Cook time 2hrs plus cooling


Cake

300g golden caster sugar

100g light muscovado sugar

150g butter at room temperature

200g walnut or neutral veg oil

5 eggs

2 tsp vanilla paste

200g hazelnut flour

300g self raising gluten free flour

1 tbsp sweet mixed spice

1 1/2 tsp xantham gum

350g finely grated parsnips

120g golden raisins or sultanas

1 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

3 tbsp apple cider vinegar


Icing

600g full fat cream cheese

300g cold butter

150g Icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp vanilla paste


Hazelnut spikes or shards (optional)

200g caster sugar

Hazelnuts tossed in the oven for 10 minutes


Caramel drip

150g caster sugar

30g butter

50ml double cream

Method:

  1. Preheat the over to 180C. Grease and line 3 x 8inch cake tins.

  2. In a stand mixer combine the two sugars and the butter and beat together. Slowly add the oil and the vanilla essence whilst the mixer is running until well combined, scarping the sides down as needed.

  3. Add the eggs one at a time, stopping again to scrape the sides of the bowl down if necessary.

  4. Combine the hazelnut flour, self raising flour, mixed spice, xantham, grated parsnip and raisins plus a pinch of salt in a large bowl and mix well.

  5. Slow the mixer down to lowest setting and add the flour mixture, a couple of tablespoons at a time.

  6. Once the batter is well combined, mix the vinegar and bicarb in a jug and add that in too.

  7. Divide between the 3 prepared cake tins or if you only have one or two divide the mix into 3 and bake individually, each third should weigh about 650g, and bake in the oven for 55 mins. *note 1*

  8. For the icing, grate the cold butter into a bowl and set aside to come until room temperature for an hour or so.

  9. If you are making the hazelnut spikes or shards, put the sugar in a wide pan and heat until the sugar has dissolved, you will probably need to tilt and shake the pan to get it all dissolved evenly but don’t stir it as it could crystallise. Continue to cook until its a deep amber colour but keep an eye on it so it doesn’t catch and burn.

  10. If you are making shards, roughly chop the hazelnuts and spread on a baking tray with parchment or a silicone matt and pour the hot caramel over the nuts and allow to harden before cracking it into the desired sizes.

  11. If you are making the the spikes rather than shards; take the caramel off the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes whilst you skewer the hazelnuts on toothpicks. Dip into the slightly cooled caramel individually and secure them under a heavy chopping board or oven dish so that the caramel drips down to create the spikes. *note 2*

  12. To make the caramel sauce, put a pan on a medium heat and add the sugar, dissolve as above. Once it is a nice caramel colour, add the butter and let it bubble for a minute before adding the cream. Remove from the heat.

  13. To finish the icing, beat the butter with the sifted icing sugar and vanilla in a mixer. Add the cream cheese and work it in with a spatular. Don’t overwork it as it can curdle and separate.

  14. To assemble, pop one of the cakes on a serving plate or cake stand. Roughly spread around a quarter of the icing on the cake almost to the edge. Repeat with the next layer and then finish with the third and the remaining half of the icing. Warm the caramel sauce gentle whilst you arrange the shards and spikes if you’ve made them. Drizzle the warm caramel sauce over the cake so it runs down the sides a little

*1* A good tip to making cakes bake evenly is to buy a few baking belts, soak them in cold water for 15 minutes then gently wring out and position around the cake pan, you can buy them here

*2* If you want to be careful with you floor place a baking tray under the place where the caramel will be dripping.


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