Fat squirrels abound in early autumn– their tummies are filled with the most wonderful of treats – cobnuts. As great as the nuts are raw, especially in their early, green form there are a huge variety of ways to get your fill of these little gems.
Like the squirrels, at this time of year we also get through kilos of cobnuts, cracking and roasting them in preparation for their transformation into wonderful wild mincemeats, Christmas cakes and puddings – some are even given very special coatings of wild damson vodka chocolate – the lucky things! However there are a few that don’t make it until December – they are ground into a wonderful pesto, sliced like water chestnuts in stir fries, and even popped into the microwave for 2 minutes with salted butter for an instant, moreish treat. But if pushed on my favourite autumnal use of cobnuts, it has to be stirred into this wonderful Kentish cob nut cake – buttery, moist and subtly gingery it’s a treat to come back to after trudging around hedgerows or the high street! I hope you enjoy it…
Kentish Cobnut Cake
(Roast cobnuts in a low oven 140c for an hour or so, until they have hardened but not darkened massively – a blackened cobnut is a crime!)
225g self-raising flour
1 rounded teaspoon of powdered ginger
110g butter (at room temperature)
110g light brown sugar
50g cobnuts, roasted and finely chopped (I blitz mine in the blender part of my trusty 1970’s Kenwood)
1 large egg, beaten (duck eggs are lovely in this cake)
Preheat the oven to 180c, grease and line a small loaf or cake tin with greased baking paper (a 9” by 4”
Sift flour into a bowl with the ginger and rub in your soft butter until the mixture looks bread crumby (like you’re making a crumble)
Add the sugar and nuts and mix well, finally stir in the beaten eggs – the mixture should be dry and crumbly – if you over work it it’ll become like a dense biscuit mixture and won’t be such a crumbly cake. (Don’t worry – it’ll still taste sensational!
Spoon the mixture into your tin, and press it down gently – so it’s more of a pillow than a brick in the making!
Cook the cake for 20 – 30 minutes; when it’s crunchy looking on top it’s probably done – don’t worry if it’s a bit claggy looking inside – this is one of the wonderful qualities of this cake and if it’s moist verging on the wet internally, you’re on to a winner!
Wonderful fresh & warm from the cooling rack, with butter and brown sugar sprinkled on top.