A Cake of Roasted Hazelnuts, Muscovado, and Coffee

My almost six-year-old laptop has been telling me that my start-up disk is nearly full for about two years now; so, for the past two years, I've been having to delete old files and applications I don't use to keep the warnings at bay. This most recent time, I finally went into iPhotothe last bastion of expendable large filesto free up space. This quickly turned into a long walk down memory lane, during which I was reminded (by a disproportionate amount of bad photos taken of strictly mediocre food) that we are coming up on Bon Appétempt's four-year anniversary. It feels kind of crazy. For those who have been following me through a lot of it, you know that, like the fabled Laser Loop at Kennywood, it's been a pretty wild ride! But thankfully, unlike the Laser Loop, it wasn't shut down for its spotty safety record. What I might be trying to say is that I've learned so much in these past years. I mean, I've gone from being a complete culinary novice to someone who can dole out high-quality cooking advice!
But lets get down to the muscovado: if you're fortunate enough to have baked a cake from either of Nigel Slater's cookbooks, Tender or Ripe, you will most likely have some muscovado sugar and self-rising flour on hand. And if you're the kind of person to have purchased those items in the first place, you probably have some butter, eggs, coffee and even a bag of hazelnuts on hand.

Also, can I just take a moment to tell you how much I love these cookbooks? Nigel Slater is a ghee-nee-ous. (I pronounce it with a hard 'g.')

Ghee-nee-ous that he is, he didn't take the option to drizzle his own cake (or so it seems in his photo above) with coffee icing. Obviously, I did. And I don't regret it. The icing wasn't anything miraculous by itself, but it smelled great and allowed me tap into the lost art of drizzling.
In short, this cake is special. You can eat it for dessert or for breakfast. (Or, if you're Matt, for both, on the same day.) 
To put it super succinctly (because, uhm, Downton Abbey is about to start) it's been a fantastic four years here on Bon Appétempt. Thank you for sharing them with me. And here's to the adventures that lay ahead in the next four!

A cake of roasted hazelnuts, muscovado, and coffee super slightly adapted from Nigel Slater's Ripe

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter (at room temp)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed light muscovado sugar
1 1/3 cups (7 oz) shelled hazelnuts
3 eggs
1/2 cup self-rising flour

for the coffee icing (optional):
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons espresso

Cut the butter into small pieces and beat together with the two sugars until light and fluffy. Even with a stand mixer, this will take quite a while--you want to end up with a mixture that is smooth and latte colored.

While the sugar and butter are creaming, preheat the oven to 325F and line the bottom of a deep 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper. Tip the nuts into a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat until golden and lightly flecked with brown on all sides. [I wasn't sure whether Nigel meant for the skins of the hazelnuts to be on or off, so I went ahead and rubbed most of them off with a thick dishcloth, which is slightly painstaking, but not that painstaking.]

Grind half of the toasted nuts to a fine powder and the other half rather less so, so they retain a certain nubbly quality, like very fine gravel.

Break the eggs into a small bowl and beat them lightly with a fork. Then, introduce them a little at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, beating thoroughly between each addition. Tip in both batches of ground hazelnuts and mix lightly.

Gently add the flour to the creamed mixture, incorporating it throughly but carefully, then scrape into the lined cake pan using a rubber spatula. Smooth the top gently so that it doesn't peak during cooking. Bake for 45-50 minutes, covering the top lightly with foil for the last ten. Remove from the oven and leave to settle for 15 minutes or so before turning out onto a cooling rack. Gently peel away the paper from the bottom and leave the cake to cool. Mix the confectioners' sugar and coffee together until smooth, then drizzle over the cake and leave for an hour or so to set.
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  1. I wish I could have this every day for breakfast, lunch dessert and regular dessert. xoxo

  2. Happy birthday. How can it be 4 years?! Thanks for being The Best and for preserving the lost art of drizzling.

  3. Replies
    1. hahaha! soooo WEIRD/funny that I didn't realize until now the whole similarity btw bon app's start date and Obama's presidency!!

  4. Congrats on the four year ann'y! I hope there are many more to come!
    And bookending your day with cake is such a good thing. Almost as good as Nigel Slater. But not quite as good as your videos. Rock on!

  5. A perfect treat for today's Inauguration....

  6. *clink* Cheers to four more good years :).

    Also, I'm making that cake. Like, today.

  7. So you made it up to Matt after the beet galette debacle, I see. This looks amazing! Congratulations to my favorite writer and blogger, from your FIRST FAN. xoxo

  8. Happy Blogaversary, you crazy kids.

  9. Congratulations, that's a long time of sharing good stuff. Also, I finally just bought Tender, and I'm really enjoying it.

  10. big congrats, amelia!

    i'm going to attempt this cake! my favorite cakes are the kind you can eat for both breakfast and dessert. been really into olive oil cake lately, but this is inspiring me to change it up! xo

  11. I like Matt's style! Bon Anniversaire! (Did I spell that right?)

  12. We ate this! It was amazing!!! Yay!!!!

  13. Well thank goodness you started this thing! And thank goodness you keep going. Drizzling IS a lost art, and thank you for keeping it in the collective conscience!

  14. But like Kennywood, your blog is "A Great Escape". Thank you for 4 years of thought-provoking posts on life and cooking. p.s. wish I were eating this nut cake instead of my third bowl of oatmeal.

  15. This looks delish!

    Thank you for your wonderful posts and hilarious videos. I am a huge fan!

  16. Hi Amelia. Your blog is over 4 years old now, but brand new to me! I have just clicked through from Lottie and Doof. I watched your 'tips' videos and thought they were hilarious! Ghee-nee-ous! This cake sounds right up my street - t'will be made in this house! I am looking forward to browsing some more and visiting again.

    1. Thanks, Amy!! And thanks, Lottie and Doof! (He always sends over the best peeps!) :) :)

  17. This looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  18. I adore hazelnuts! I will prepare this cake for me and my husband, 10x Amelia!


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