I first made it, I don’t know, probably about five years ago and I have to be honest and say that I haven’t made it since. Until now. And I have no idea what has taken me so long.
It has been on the recipe radar / to make list for a while, primarily because it contains no flour. None. Nada. And that was the only reason. Gonna be truthful.
I had completely forgotten how utterly delicious it is. And moist (ugh, there’s that word again). And light. So, so light. Which considering all the nuts is a small wonder.
Although there are three stages to making the batter, none of them are difficult. It’s about 20 minutes work (probably less if you don’t have to contend with falling kitchen equipment coming at you out of the cupboards, like I did. Why is the thing you need always at the back?), let it bake, let it rest and then, hey presto!
What I will tell you is that you need to Grease. The. Pan. Well. Grease it up good. Like a Chippendale. Shiny, shiny, greasy, greasy.
Sorry, don’t know what came over me for a second there . . .
I used a non-stick pan that has never caused me any problems in the past. I lined the bottom with non-stick paper as I always do – precautionary measure, because there is now’t more frustrating than a cake with its bottom welded to the pan. And I don’t know if it was the coconut sugar or the addition of chocolate, but something caused the sides of this cake to stick and stick good. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the batter – which more or less filled the pan before baking – rose up delightfully in the oven and ever so slightly mushroomed over the edge. Just a little bit. Not in a “grrr, now I have to clean the bottom of the oven” way – there was fortunately a lip on the pan so no gooey mess – but in a way that made it a leeetle bit difficult to get out because I couldn’t get a palate knife down the sides too well. I was sure it would sink down as it cooled, but no. It stayed exactly as it was.
On the plus side, this may have helped with the whole ‘lightness’ factor, because if it sank a little it would be a little bit denser.
Anyway, I eventually managed it, with neither of us too worse for wear. And it was definitely worth the effort.
Because the chocolate chips I used were quite chunky, they didn’t break up completely in the blender which left little chocolatey nuggets in the cake that act as an accent to the hazelnuts and cinnamon, which I personally love.
And because I have to mention it, no, this isn’t really like Nutella in cake form. It is more sophisticated than that.
This cake is so moreish that you will find it difficult to stop at one slice. And it teams up brilliantly with the following:
- ice cream
- berries and whipped cream
- whipped cream and chocolate sauce
- whipped cream, chocolate sauce and sliced banana
- cup of coffee / tea
I am sure you will find more . . .
Hazelnut & Chocolate Cake
- 200g whole hazelnuts, including skin
- 50g dark chocolate, either broken into chunks or chips
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 100g butter, softened
- 5 medium eggs, separated
- 175g coconut sugar, or caster / superfine sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- Pre-heat the oven to 170 Celsius / 150 fan / 325 Fahrenheit. Grease a 20cm round loose-bottomed cake pan well and line the bottom with non-stick paper.
- Place the hazelnuts, chocolate, baking powder and ground cinnamon in a food processor and blend until broken down to a fine texture – one or two nobbly bits is fine.
- Add the butter and blend again to incorporate. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale and mousse like – when you lift the whisk up it should leave ribbons on the surface.
- Add the hazelnut chocolate mixture and the vanilla extract and beat in.
- In a separate medium-sized clean bowl whisk the egg whites with the sea salt until they form stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg whites into the rest of the batter a third at a time in order to keep as much air in the batter as possible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 60 minutes, until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. This is a delicate cake when warm so it must be completely cold before cutting.
- Store in an air-tight container away from direct sunlight.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2015
Adapted slightly from a Rachel Allen recipe.