In the summer months, when the days are long and berries are in abundance, I make a cardamom cake, inspired by a Swedish recipe. In the winter months however, I wanted a more seasonal version, one to pair with the short days and long nights.
With a little bit of molasses and gingerbread spices, the result is a cake that’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee while you curl up under a wool blanket. It can be a decadent treat topped with a layer of whipped cream, or served with freshly sliced pears. Better yet, cook those pears down and serve it with a pear compote.
Embrace the days of winter and remember that now, after the winter solstice, the light is returning into our lives, figuratively and literally.
3/4 cup (3.75 ounces, 106 grams) raw hazelnuts, finely ground
2/3 cup (3 ounces, 85 grams) rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 tablespoons (2 ounces, 56 grams) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) plain yogurt
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) honey
2 tablespoons molasses
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces, 70 grams) currants (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Grease and flour a deep, circular baking pan, or a 9-inch springform pan. I like to grease and then use cornmeal to flour the pan.
In a food processor, finely grind the hazelnuts. In a bowl, combine the ground hazelnuts with the rice flour, baking powder and spices.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Add the honey and molasses and whisk until well blended. Add in the melted butter.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, as well as the currants, being careful not to over stir.
Pour the batter into the greased pan and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the cake has turned a slightly darker color around the edges (the time depends on the size of your pan). Remove from the oven and let cool.
Remove the cake from the pan and transfer to a plate. If you would like, decorate with powdered sugar. Note that if you use a stencil (like I did above) you need to serve it immediately; this is a moist cake, and that moisture sucks up the powdered sugar quickly, so after awhile the design disappears. Alternatively, you can top the cake with whipped cream or serve with a spoonful of yogurt. Or just keep things plain.