Thursday, 19 February 2015

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

February is almost over and I have decided that it is time for cake. Well, when isn't time for cake anyway? I have been trying different techniques to improve my baking skills so it's not just macarons I can do. In fact the first ever sponge cake with icing I have made was for my nieces birthday back in December. I was very proud of myself and it tasted pretty good too.
Here I'm going to show you how to make fairly easy chocolate and hazelnut sponge with vanilla buttercream. I am not a big fan of chocolate, especially not on its own, but when its mixed with fruit or nuts, I do enjoy it. As it is still cold and miserable outside it seemed indulgently appropriate.

This cake is very tiny, only 6" or 15 centimetres, but it is quite rich and will easily satisfy 8 people. You can double the recipe and make bigger cake or its also possible to make as cupcakes.
I particularly like the combination of chocolate with hazelnuts, but you can substitute your favourite nuts such as walnuts or pecans. The chopped hazelnuts are in the filing between the layers to add texture.

Here is how to make it:

For the 6"cake
60 g raw hazelnuts
140g caster sugar
125g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
102 g milk
65g vegetable oil
63g boiling water

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Grease two 6" inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper. I used just one and it was springform. Just have to bake it a little longer.
Place the hazelnuts in a food processor and bits until they are chopped fairly fine. Measure out 14g and set aside for later.
Pour the rest of the hazelnuts into a large bowl and mix in the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder and salt.
In another bowl mix together the egg with milk, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir in the boiling water. Mix thoroughly. This will be a very runny cake mixture. Pour it into your prepared cake pans and bake in the oven on the middle shell for 30 mins if you are baking 2 or at least 45 mins if you have all your mixture in one pan. Keep checking for doneness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean your cake is baked.
Let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then remove and let cool completely.
Meanwhile prepare your frosting.

For the frosting:
230g unsalted butter, softened
220g icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract/ or paste

Place the softened butter into a large bowl and whisk with electric whisk. Add 1/3 of sifted icing sugar and mix in. Gradually add the other 2/3 until all sugar is incorporated. Add the salt and vanilla and mix well. Separate 1/2 cup of icing and mix with the 14g of chopped hazelnuts.

To assembly:
Cut your cake in half and level the top so its nice and straight.
Place the bottom half onto your cake stand or a serving plate and spread the hazelnut buttercream with a offset spatula or a large knife until its level. Place the top half on top. Spread the vanilla buttercream all over the top. It can be completely smooth or slightly more rustic as mine was. Decorate with whole hazelnuts and enjoy with a cup of tea.

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