Saturday, 18 June 2011

Hazelnut Latte Buns

Okay, so maybe I make far too much cake for my own good.  But there's only so many cover letters a gal can write in a day...

A Note on 'Beating'
Beating a cake mix isn't like beating a carpet or your wife; it's a specific technique.  Tilt the bowl away from you so that the mix gathers at the far side.  Now paddle furiously at it in a steady rhythm with your wooden spoon, as though trying to turn a coracle or log canoe away from a waterfall in a Harrison Ford film.  You should find that it makes a very satisfying 'doff-doff-doff' noise, which is the sound of air getting trapped in the wake of your spoon and hitting the batter, becoming incorporated and making those tiny Aero-bubbles you find in great sponge.  Every so often you can group the mix into one blob again by scraping around the edges in a big circle.  It can also help to rotate the bowl every so often.

Hazelnut Latte Buns
You Will Need: large bowl, wooden spoon, cup, fork, butterknife, chopping board, large knife, coffee-making apparatus, scales, teaspoon, muffin tin.

2 beaten eggs
4oz butter (kerry gold if possible)
4oz sugar
4oz self raising flour
approx. 50g hazelnuts
small cup of strong black coffee
1 capful vanilla essence

1) Butter six of the tin-holes.  Chop or blitz the hazelnuts very finely, and put a teaspoonful of crumbs into each hole.  Roll around the holes to coat the sides, leaving some at the base of the holes.  If you have nuts left, drop a few whole into the base of each hole as a surprise for nommers.
2) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
3) Cream the butter and sugar; add the egg a little at a time.  Beat to a smooth batter.  Add the vanilla.
4) Beat in the flour 1/3 at a time; alternate flour with coffee, until the mixture is latte-coloured, fragrant and batter-like, but not runny.  You want it to hold its shape on the spoon when a spoonful is lifted out, but easily drop off the back of said spoon.  Add the coffee very slowly, and don't necessarily use all of it.
5) Beat almost excessively to a very light and fully combined mixture; try to get plenty of air in.
6) Divide the mixture evenly between the tin holes, and bake until fully risen, and a skewer in the middle comes out clean.  You may find that the buns erupt slightly as the unbaked centres rise through the baked outer shells; don't worry, that's normal and makes a lovely light cake!

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