These stylish little tea cakes are inspired by Ottolenghi The Cookbook. Craving something sweet with mini bundt trays at the ready, I retrieved my well-thumbed copy from the bookshelf, flipped it open and yet again realised I didn’t quite have all the necessary ingredients for either of Yotam’s three recipes in my pantry. The story of my life in the kitchen.
I always shop without a pre-ordained plan, allowing my senses to choose what is fresh and bountiful according to the seasons. I’ve also always been a firm believer that necessity in the mother of invention. What I did have spilling over my kitchen bench was an abundance of peak season rhubarb, hazelnuts and strawberries procured that very morning from the markets. Originally intended for a rhubarb and strawberry compote and caramelised hazelnut praline, as a delicious topping for our healthy winter breakfast staple of creamy steel cut oats.
The beauty of cooking, at home in your kitchen for your family, is that you are master of your own destiny and can improvise at will. I borrowed just a little of that fabulously fresh produce and incorporated it into a very simple cake batter. Once spooned into a mini bundt tin tray and baked in a moderate oven, I was rewarded with these very pretty Ottolenghi style tea cakes. While they baked I made a rhubarb strawberry compote, and borrowed just two tablespoons of its fragrant ruby red syrup for my glaze. Vibrantly hued and intensely flavoured, it was a joy to drizzle over my little beauties. Decorated with slivers of fresh strawberry and a final flourish of a dusting of icing sugar, they were begging to be eaten. My pretty little baking.
Little Rhubarb And Hazelnut Tea Cakes
Inspired by Peach and Raspberry Tea Cakes in Ottolenghi The Cookbook
Makes 12 Tea Cakes
350g rhubarb, washed, trimmed and sliced into a small dice
100g hazelnuts, roasted and coarsely ground
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 cups self raising flour
2/3 cup pouring cream, lightly soured with 1 tablespoon lemon juice stirred through
For The Glaze
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons cooled syrup from strawberry and rhubarb compote (recipe here) or juice of ½ a lemon
3 large strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered, for decoration
PREHEAT oven to 170 C fan-forced. Grease and flour a 12 hole mini bundt tin, tapping out any excess flour.
COMBINE rhubarb, hazelnuts, cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of caster sugar in a medium bowl. Mix gently until rhubarb is well coated. Set aside.
BEAT butter and remaining caster sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time. Beat until just incorporated.
FOLD in self-raising flour, rhubarb-hazelnut mixture and cream in three batches.
SPOON batter evenly into the mini bundt tin. It will be quite dense with a large volume of rhubarb and hazelnuts.
WHEN filled tap the tin gently on the kitchen bench to distribute the batter and smooth the top with a palette knife. Any excess batter left over after filling the bundt tin (this will depend on the size of your tin) can be poured into a lined muffin tin.
BAKE for 20 – 25 minutes, middle oven rack position, or until a skewer inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
REMOVE from the oven, allow to cool in the tin a little before transferring onto wire rack to cool completely. Give each of the teacakes a little twist to help release them from from the mini bundt tin.
WHISK strawberry rhubarb syrup or lemon juice with icing sugar until smooth and white, add a little more icing sugar if needed. If using lemon juice feel free to add a drop of food colouring for a vibrant pink hue.
MAKE sure your tea cakes are completely cool before drizzling with the glaze. Decorate with slivers of fresh strawberry and a light dusting of icing sugar.