Autumn is such a glorious season. After the heat and busy-ness of the summer months I welcome the cooler nights and crisp mornings, while still enjoying the warmth of the sun during the day. It feels like an invitation to slow down and enjoy the simpler things in life. Plus there is something so inspiring about the colour palette of the autumn garden – crimson leaves, burnt orange pumpkins, little pops of colour from the last berries and tomatoes, and the first of the wood-grained nuts falling to the ground. This is by far my favourite season.
It is also the season of birthdays, with my daughters 6th birthday party last weekend plus several friends celebrations too. So it has been a week of baking cakes around here – and when you crack all the nuts by hand there is a lot of love and energy poured into making a cake 😉
In keeping with tradition I am sharing the cake I made for my daughters party. Inspired by the gardens offerings and local produce from the markets, I combined new season walnuts and the last of our raspberry harvest. Plus added some not so local ( ;-> ) chocolate and bananas to create this decadent and moist cake I hope you will love.
And here are the birthday cakes of recent years…
5 years old – White Chocolate Layer Cake with Strawberry Chia Couli
3 years old – Pink Butterfly Cake with Dairy-free Icing
This cake is a wonderful autumn combination of walnuts and berries melded with chocolate. It is moist and rich, so perfect for celebrating a birthday. Just a little tip if using a bundt tin as pictured - grease the tin very well - unfortunately I learned this hard way with a few cakes having to be eaten out of the tin!
1 cup freshly cracked walnuts - or hazelnuts
1 cup white spelt flour (gluten-free use 3/4 cup buckwheat + 1/4 cup tapioca)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of sea salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
50g butter or coconut oil, melted
4 tablespoons honey
4 free-range eggs
3/4 cup fresh or frozen berries plus extra for decorating
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
100ml milk of choice (cow, coconut, almond, oat, soy)
100g 70-80% chocolate, broken into pieces.
- Preheat oven to 170C. Very generously grease a 25cm bundt tin with butter or coconut oil (or use a greased and lined 22cm cake tin).
- Place the walnuts and 1/4 cup of flour in a food processor and blend until the walnuts are finely ground. Tip into a bowl and add the remaining flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, stir to combine.
- In a separate bowl mash the banana with the butter and honey until smooth, whisking in the eggs one at a time. Stir through the cider vinegar and berries. Pour the wet mix over the flour mix and fold together.
- Scoop the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 35 - 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then use a rubber spatula to loosen the sides and turn out onto a cake rack. Cool completely before icing.
- To make the chocolate ganache heat the milk until foaming and bubbles appear around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces. Gently stir as the chocolate melts into a smooth sauce. Spoon over the top of the cake letting a little chocolate dribble down the sides. Decorate with berries while the ganache is still soft so they hold to the cake.