I’m quite pleased with this uncharacteristically arty snap, but that’s about as far as today’s baking joy goes…lovely book, nice ingredients, promising and technically correct recipe. But somewhere along the line it all went wrong. I suppose I was overly hopeful given that cakes with nuts in, and sugar on top, and a lump of something in the middle, are some of my Favourite Things. And there’s nothing technically wrong with these and I am happy to admit that it may be my skill, oven or ingredients at fault. My better half thinks part of it may be down to Marks & Spencer’s chocolate hazelnut spread, which he has declared to be an “anti-taste” and he may have a point. The texture is soft and moist – slightly shop-cake, long-life-like, if you want to be mean – and I think a higher temperature would have set the sugar better. Disappointing more than devastating, given the good things I have heard about the Hummingbird Bakery and how lovely the other recipes look. Not a complete disaster, and perfectly edible, and I will still – utterly selflessly and purely in the public interest – give some of the other recipes in the book a go, particularly the mixed nut tart and the maple and pecan layer cake – but today’s conclusion is spelled “mnyehmm hmm”.
On the bright side my better half has just harvested a small tree of its hazelnuts having spotted a fattening squirrel hiding there, so this week is going to be pasta with hazelnut pesto!