Last year I held a cake stall in my backyard to raise some money for the famine appeal in East Africa. With the help of wonderful friends and family, we raised almost $600 for Oxfam and the World Food Program.
Fundraising aside, the best thing about the day for me was discovering people’s favourite cake recipes. My friend Nada’s mum, Stephanie, brought this beautiful hazelnut sponge and it was a big hit.
Stephanie is a Croatian Australian and hands down the best cook I know. I love everything about her attitude to food and cooking. She makes simple but stunning food with the freshest and best ingredients possible, and nothing is ever wasted. She grows her own vegetables, fruit and herbs, and a visit to her garden is inspirational. It’s almost unbelievable how much produce her small garden in inner city Melbourne provides.
Stephanie kindly shared this recipe with me and now I’m sharing it with you. It’s such a beautiful cake – delicate and nutty. It is perfect with afternoon coffee or tea, or after dinner with a liqueur. I’ve only really made one change, and that is to reduce the amount of sugar, as it’s my standard operating procedure to do so. The coffee cream is my touch. If you prefer, as Stephanie suggests, chocolate cream, then substitute the coffee for a teaspoon of cocoa powder.
- 4 eggs, separated
- pinch of cream of tartar (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1/3 cup caster sugar (or 1/2 cup if you want it sweeter)
- 2/3 cup ground hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup self raising flour (or plain flour + 1 teaspoon baking powder)
- 25 g, or two level tablespoons, butter melted in 2 tablespoons boiling water.
- 150 ml pure cream
- 1 level tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon instant coffee
Preheat oven to 180c.
Grease a 20cm square cake tin or high sided tray (you can use a larger one if that’s all you have, as I did, but the sponge will be thinner).
Assemble all your ingredients so you have everything at hand once you get cracking.