Wednesday, May 8, 2013

THB: Marionberry-Hazelnut Cake

I can't believe that this is my first blog post in a really long while but hopefully, my hosting The Home Baker's Marionberry-Hazelnut Cake from the book "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas will push me to start writing on my blog again which I have regretfully ignored because of other matters.  This cake, as you can see above, didn't turn quite as lovely as the picture in the book because the toppings sunk to the bottom.  Somehow, my long baking rut made me forget that this is a usual occurrence with butter cakes and therefore, I should've added the toppings midway through the baking instead.  I don't know where in the world you can find marionberries but when I chose this recipe, I knew that I would be using blackberries instead of marionberries and that I would be substituting almonds for the hazelnuts.  I'm not really a fan of hazelnuts in anything except the ubiquitous Nutella which we all know is mixed with chocolate and all the hazelnuts I can get here are the un-peeled ones which would make it even more of a hassle as it means that I would be going through the blanching process and all just to peel them.

What's interesting about this cake is that it has more almond meal in it than flour so I didn't know what to expect in terms of how it'll rise or how tender the crumb would be.  The cake turned out pretty moist actually and I credit that to the blackberries, the juices of which kept the crumb soft and moist.  One thing that was off in the recipe at least for me though was the baking time.  It took way longer than the time stated by the author -- it actually took more than an hour to bake.  Even after 40 minutes the batter was nowhere near being set and I think this is because I used frozen and unthawed blackberries which I think released so much juices which affected the temperature of the batter and all that.  I noticed that the frozen blackberries that I used had some ice crystals in them so the water content of the berries definitely affected the cake's baking time.  I wonder if I would get the same results If I had used fresh berries instead.  I hope some of you did so I would get some feedback with regards to the baking time.

Overall, this was an excellent coffee cake and I think a mixture of berries like raspberries, strawberries and blueberries would even add more flavor to the cake.  I kind of found the cinnamon to be a bit overpowering so I would omit adding it to the batter next time and just rely on the toppings for the cinnamon flavor.

Marionberry-Hazelnut Cake
From the book "Coffee Cakes" by Lou Seibert Pappas

1 1/4 cups ground hazelnut meal or almond meal
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh or frozen marionberries, or mixed blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries
2 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar
1/3 cup hazelnuts, toasted, skinned, or chopped or sliced or slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.  Scatter the nut meal on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly toasted.  Let cool.  Increase the oven temperature to 350 F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and almond extract and beat until smooth.

In a medium bowl, combine the toasted nut meal, flour, baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Stir to blend.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and beat until smooth.  Spread the better evenly in the prepared pan.  Scatter the berries evenly over the top.  Toss the remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon with the Demerara or turbinado sugar and nuts and sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cake is set when pressed lightly and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the pan sides.  Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into wedges.

Makes one 9-inch cake; serves 10 to 12

NOTE: Hazelnut and almond meal, or flour, is available in specialty food stores, or you can grind the nuts finely in a food processor (hazelnuts should be toasted and skinned first).


  1. Hey Janis, welcome back to the blog-o-sphere!!! This cake sounds wonderful (I'd have to sub in almonds of course). I can imagine how nice and moist this cake would be with the berries.

    Will you have a chance to bake this month's ABC English Muffins? They are SO good!! Hope to hear from you soon :o)

    1. Hi Hanaa! Thanks so much! I never realized how much I've missed blogging and will certainly try to do it on a regular basis from now on. I looked at the recipe for the English muffins and it sounds delicious! Will definitely try to make that as I miss baking so much. Will email you very soon too! Take care Hanaa xoxo

  2. Hi Janis,
    Like Hanaa says, welcome back to blogging! This is a lovely cake, I've used frozen mulberries, have not seen marionberry before! I made only half a recipe and baked mine at about 38 minutes. I've used ground almonds too. Thank you for hosting, amidst your busy schedule. The link is open now, you may link your post over at THB's linky.

    1. Thanks Joyce! I'm glad the author gave a lot of berry substitutions and even for other nuts to use. I was surprised at how high my cake rose too considering how little the batter was in the pan and how the cake looked in the picture. Your cake looks great as well! So pretty and it seems like your toppings didn't sink to the bottom? I'm glad to be back and bake with you guys again!

  3. Hi Janis, good to see you back in the blogging world:D This cake looks delicious! I like almond meals in cakes too but do not use nut meals often because they can be quite costly here!

    1. Hi Jeannie...thanks so much! I know, nut meals are really costly here too and they even go rancid pretty fast that's why I always store them in the freezer. I've tried making my own but they don't turn out as fine as store-bought nut meals and the humidity here makes it oil up in the food processor even just after a few pulses.

  4. Welcome back to blogging, Janis! With your berries, the cake looks so moist and pretty like a mosaic design by itself :) It's time for me to start working on mine ;)

  5. Hi Janis , Welcome back to blogging & thanks for selecting this delicious recipe . We love this cake very much . I agreed that it took more than 45 mins for mine to fully baked too . I've used fresh mixed berries & for me ,this cake works very well with almond meals! Another keeper that I'll surely try again during summer when I harvest my raspberries & blueberries. ;)

  6. Love the combo of blackberries and almonds! Looking good!

  7. Hi Janis, looks good. Will find time to bake this. I like the aroma from cinnamon but not almond extract, most probably will do away with that: )

  8. Good looking cake. Stay blogging. Once you get into a routine, you will enjoy it, once again.

  9. real moist looking cake, and mouthwatering too
    take note of the overpowering cinnamon in the cake, since my kids dun really fancy that, thks
    will make this cake this weekend :)

  10. look so inviting, I had to control myself grabbing the screen.. just my kind of cake this is...

    so glad to follow you :)

  11. Hi Janis,
    Thanks for selecting this recipe, I baked it on the weekend and shared it with friends and we all really enjoyed it. There was only 1 slice left for my friend to 'ta bao'. I used frozen berries too and my cakes (i baked 2 x 7" rounds) took slightly longer to bake. I have to try this recipe again in summer when blackberries are in season here.
    I love how your cake batter raised and covered part of the berries, I put too much berries so I didn't get that effect and you cake looks super moist.

  12. I am one of the bakers that can make a delish dessert but it won’t always look so pretty so I can sympathize with you here. I am sure that this tastes delicious. Thank you for posting the recipe.

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  13. It's very nice. But I prefer the grape flavor than types of berries. I will try with grape tastes.

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