Pumpkin, hazelnut and orange sponge cake recipe

Nicola Galloway celebrates the flavors of the hazelnuts she picked from her tree in the fall.
Nicola Galloway

Nicola Galloway celebrates the flavors of the hazelnuts she picked from her tree in the fall.

The three hazelnut trees we planted about six years ago are starting to make a living from a good walnut crop this year. They have been drying out in a warm place for the past few months and are now ready to snap. Investing in a good nutcracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack. We use a screw-style nutcracker made by Ohiwa Macadamias, which confidently gets the job done for large-scale cracking.

Once split, toast the whole hazelnuts. This is an essential step to enhance the flavor and easily remove the skins. I roast my hazelnuts over low heat as follows:

ADVERTISEMENT

Spread 1-2 cups of whole hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in an oven at 150C (fan 130C) for 10 minutes. Shake the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the skins have cracked and the hazelnuts are fragrant. Immediately tip the hot nuts onto a clean kitchen towel, scooping it up to enclose the nuts. Rub vigorously, then transfer the toasted walnuts, now skinned, to a bowl to cool. Shake the kitchen towel and it will be as good as new.

READ MORE:
* Recipe: Hazelnut and Fig Panforte
* Recipe: Parsnip and Carrot Pie with Walnuts and Ginger
* Recipes: Carrot Mandarin Muffins and Carrot Salad with Mandarin Ginger Dressing

This is a tasty and moist crumb cake. It is not necessary to pre-cook the pumpkin, as finely grated raw pumpkin is used (see recipe for details).

I used some of my freshly roasted hazelnuts for this cake, ground into a meal for the cake batter, and some chopped for the top. To make ground hazelnuts: Cool the nuts completely, then place them in a food processor with 1 tablespoon of flour and process until finely ground. The addition of the flour absorbs the oil from the nuts preventing them from turning into a paste.

If you want to make this cake dairy-free, replace the amount of yogurt with dairy-free milk, such as oat milk mixed with 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and use oil instead of butter.

Investing in a good nutcracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack.

Nicola Galloway

Investing in a good nutcracker is essential when faced with baskets of nuts to crack.

Pumpkin, hazelnut and orange tart

preparation time: 20 minutes

Time to cook: 35-40 minutes

It serves: 12-16

INGREDIENTS

About 250 g pumpkin or courgette wedge

½ cup (125 ml) plain yogurt

½ cup (125 ml) light olive oil, neutral oil, or melted butter

2 free-range eggs

½ cup (100g) sugar or ⅓ cup honey

Finely grated zest of 1 orange, about 2 teaspoons

1¼ cups (190 g) all-purpose flour (can be used gluten-free, using weight instead of volume amount)

½ cup (60 g) ground hazelnuts or almonds (see recipe introduction)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of mixed spices

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons toasted chopped hazelnuts

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

METHOD

Preheat oven to 180C (fan 160C). Grease and line a 20 cm round or square tart tin.

  1. Remove the seeds from the pumpkin and use a sharp knife to remove the skin. Cut into 2-3 pieces then finely grate on a box grater. It is important that the squash is finely grated, not coarse, so that it cooks into the cake crumb. If you don’t have a grater with small holes, use the standard holes and then finely chop the grated squash.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the yogurt, oil or melted butter, eggs, sugar, and orange zest.

  3. In another bowl combine the flour, ground hazelnuts, baking powder, spices, and salt. Whisk to combine and remove any lumps, then add this to the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to mix until combined; don’t over mix, treat it like you would a muffin mix.

  4. Pour batter into prepared pie pan. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and pumpkin seeds. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a rack, then slice and serve.

Nicola Galloway is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and culinary tutor.

www.homegrown-kitchen.co.nz

ADVERTISEMENT