Sunday, 24 November 2013

Sloe gin, hazelnut and fig cake

Sloe gin, hazelnut and fig cake

Sloe gin seems to capture the flavours of autumn and the onset of Christmas festivities. It seemed like a perfect ingredient to incorporate into a cake for a Christmas craft and bake sale we went to today at a beautiful house in the Welsh countryside to raise money for a cancer hospital that our friend and old teacher Mags raises money for.  I decided to use it in a version of the hazelnut and fig layer cake that I made recently, adding a glug of sloe gin to the cake batter and drizzling the hot cakes out of the oven with it before layering it with hazelnut buttercream and topping each layer with fresh figs. Delicious!

10 oz butter
10 oz caster sugar
2 tbsp sloe gin (plus extra for glazing)
10 oz self-raising flour
5 eggs
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

For the hazelnut buttercream
3 oz toasted hazelnuts
8 oz icing sugar
6 oz butter, softened

To decorate
6 fresh figs, sliced

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and grease and line three 7 inch round cake tins.  
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add the sloe gin and beat well to combine.
  4. Measure out the flour and set aside.
  5. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, followed by a large spoonful of flour between each egg.  Beat well after each addition.
  6. Sift in the remaining flour, baking powder and salt and beat until well combined.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tins and bake for about 25 mins until a cake tester comes out clean.
  8. Turn the cakes upside down onto a wire rack and use a pastry brush to lightly coat them with sloe gin while still warm, then set aside to cool completely.
  9. To make the buttercream, put the hazelnuts and icing sugar into a food processor and blitz until it is as fine as you can get it.
  10. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter until smooth and lighter in colour. Add the nutty sugar and whisk well for 5 minutes until lightened and fluffy.
  11. When the cakes are completely cool, sandwich each layer with a third of the icing topped with a layer of sliced figs. 

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