This Hokey Pokey Coffee Cake is my entry into the Weekly Bake-Off...an homage to the great Mary Berry herself. Each week a different Mary Berry recipe challenge is set, with all participants baking the same recipe and then submitting their results.
The only thing I would say is that maybe there could be a bit more advice on how to make praline for the uninitiated. The recipe doesn't mention the fact that whilst the sugar is dissolving you should only stir it once or twice and then once you get past this stage and it starts simmering you should never stir it as this will lead to a praline catastrophe. At this stage you should really only swirl the pan occasionally. It also doesn't mention that this process can take quite a while, probably around 20 minutes.
Interstingly, the recipe also refers to the walnut praline as Hokey Pokey which is well known in New Zealand. However, a friend who is from NZ always refers to honeycomb as Hokey Pokey, so I googled it and it is indeed honeycomb...but who am I to argue when the cake tastes this good!
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
225g self-raising flour
1 level tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee in 1tbsp hot water
75g chopped walnuts
2 tbsp water
50g caster sugar
50g walnut pieces
250g icing sugar
1 1/2 tsp instant coffee in 1 1/2 tbsp hot water
Heat the oven to 160c/140c fan/gas 3 and line two 8 inch sandwich tins. This cake is easy to make, just put all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly before dividing between the two sandwich tins and level the surface. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool in the tins for a minute or two before turning out on to a wire rack.
The cake was the easy bit now for the praline! Place the sugar and water into a pan and put over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved, the solution should go clear. You should then continue until the praline turns a deep amber colour (watch very carefully during the whole process as it can burn). Once ready, take it off the heat and mix in the nuts. This should then be poured out onto non-stick baking parchment.
Once the hokey pokey is cooled it can be broken up. Large bits should be kept for the decoration on top, with the remainder being broken up and added to the icing which will be sandwiched between the two cakes.
To make the icing, the butter and sifted icing sugar should be placed in a bowl, along with the coffee and then mixed to give a light and fluffy coffee buttercream. Finally, take the two cakes and place the least attractive one upside down on the serving plate. Spread the icing with the hokey pokey in on this cake and then place the other cake on top. To finish icing the top cake and cover with the remaining butter icing. The finishing touch, lovely pieces of hokey pokey decorating the top.
* Adapted from 100 Cakes and Bakes by Mary Berry