Based on a French gâteau creusois – a deliciously moist hazelnut sponge made with egg whites (the yolks can be put to good use in a custard, cream filling or ice cream). Jam and cream is the pinnacle here, or a dollop of yogurt and some fresh cherries if you are feeling virtuous.
100g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
75g plain flour, sifted
100g roasted hazelnuts, ground to a powder (see tip)
finely grated zest of 1 orange
4 medium egg whites
125g golden caster sugar icing sugar, for dusting
100g black cherry jam
1 tbsp lemon juice crème fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C fan/gas 5. Grease a 20cm springform cake tin that is at least 4cm deep. Combine the flour, nuts and orange zest in a large bowl. Using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites in another large bowl until stiff, then sprinkle over the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, whisking well with each addition until you have a glossy meringue.
- Add the melted butter to the dry ingredients and blend to a paste, then fold in the meringue in two goes and work with a wooden spoon until smooth. Transfer the mixture to the cake tin, smoothing the surface, and bake for 25 minutes until golden and springy to the touch. Run a knife around the edge of the cake and leave to cool before dusting with icing sugar.
- To serve, blend the jam with the lemon juice in a small bowl. Dollop each slice with crème fraîche then the jam. The cake will keep well for several days, loosely covered.
Grind the nuts in small batches in an electric coffee grinder or in a food processor, taking care not to overwork them.