I can't pretend that this post contains a recipe that is remotely WW or other diet friendly. It is, however, cake and very good cake at that. And it has fruit in it. And no flour which makes it suitable for thems what can't eat flour. So, as my brother said, practically a health food.
Last Monday, you see, was my mother's birthday and birthdays must always bring cake. My brother D and family were visiting from London and very lovely it was to see them too. My sister in law V is currently doing a sterling job growing a new little addition to the family and being mother to little D who at nearly two and a half is my favourite example of the toddler genre. D and V took charge of the very important job of making Mum a birthday cake; I think I offered to help but I am far less efficient than the two of them, not to mention far more lazy, so ended up watching Shrek 3 with little D instead. Which made me cry a bit when Shrek had a midlife crisis and decided he didn't want to be a husband and father anymore - I am predictably maudlin when it comes to marital unrest portrayed in the media. Little D seemed to enjoy it though.
Anyway, cake. I didn't get round to asking why they picked this particular one but I am glad that they did because it was very nice and perfect for the sunny weather we had last weekend - it felt almost more like a dessert than a cake. We didn't put candles in it. We did, however, drink champagne and sing happy birthday so I don't think Mum minded.
225 g hazelnuts, whole, skin on
6 medium eggs
200g caster sugar
250ml double cream
10g icing sugar
Fresh mint leaves
Serves 10, 11 pro points per slice
Firstly you need to toast the hazelnuts in a hot oven - there is an excellent how to here.
Now, using the butter, grease a loose bottomed (heh heh) 23cm tin and preheat the oven to 170 (fan 150).
Blitz the toasted hazelnuts in a processor (or, alternatively, you could work off some pent up aggression by pounding them with a rolling pin). Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and fluffy and gently fold in the hazelnuts.
In a separate, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks - or, until you can hold the bowl upside down over your head without getting an egg rinse. Gently fold these into the other mixture until completely incorporated. Be sure to fold and not stir - stirring will destroy all those little air bubbles that you have just created into the whites and lead to a heavier cake.
Put the batter in the buttered tin and bake for around 45 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Rachel says don't worry if it sinks slightly in the middle - I take this to mean that it will inevitable sink in the middle.
Allow to cool in the tin for 10 mins before sliding out onto a pretty serving plate. Allow to cool completely before the final stage.
Prior to serving, whip up the cream until stiff and then smear or pipe it on before decorating with fruit, a dusting of icing sugar and torn mint.