Thanks to the generous cob nut tree in my street and the bags of nuts left tied to the kind owner's gate every few days for us to collect, my cob nut collection is growing ever bigger. Last year I made the mistake of storing a batch unopened in a tight jar which was left too long. Damp caused mould and I lost a few. This year I'm not risking it so I've cracked them all, roasted them for 20 minutes in a hot oven and then stored them. Happy days.
A lovely thing to do with a few roasted cob nuts is to blitz them finely and then fold them into a cake. The aromas of any cake baking is pretty special at the best of times. Imagine the smell of a cake baking packed with nuts. It is sensational. The only problem is that smell is a certain giveaway that something heavenly is growing in the oven. And my daughter can sniff out a cake a mile away.
This cake is sweetened using some local honey from a bee keeper here in East Boldon. Freshly potted from the hives, the bees have fed themselves on brambles and pine and the dark aromatic caramel-like honey reflects this. Lemon juice and zest work fantastically in a cake, and with a little hot syrup made from more honey and some juice, it stays very moist.
The only problem with making this cake was the distribution. It was one of the best cakes I have made this year. My parents were round so they had some. Wife and daughter had large slabs each, and I also thought it would be a good thing to give a piece to the kind lady who gave me the nuts. So not much left for me. As Billy Bragg once said, that's the price I pay for loving you the way that I do. Cakes and nuts. Love 'em.
Cob Nut, Honey and Lemon Cake
100g cob nuts or hazelnuts, roasted and ground
150g self raising flour
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 - Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C, GM4. Butter and line a 20cm removable base cake tin.
2 - In a large bowl, cream together the honey and butter.
3 - Break in the eggs one at a time and whisk in thoroughly. This may curdle but don't worry.
4 - Fold in the flour, ground nuts and zest and juice of the lemon. Pour into the cake tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until a knife inserted comes back clean.
5 - Make a simple lemon syrup using a the juice of one lemon and same quantity honey, warming up in a pan. Just before serving, drizzle some over and serve with creme fraiche, yoghurt or whipped double cream.