Saturday, December 20, 2008

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Cake Slice: Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake

Is it the 20th already? Where has time gone? It seems like the closer we are to the end of the year, the quicker the days go. I'm not too sure if I'm ready for 2009 yet. I feel like I barely got to enjoy 2008! The only reason I even realized it was the 20th was because I noticed a few posts in my reader for this month's Cake Slice selection. Then I realized that I had completely forgotten to post about the deliciousness that is the Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake. The combination of chocolate and hazelnut is amazing. I love how the chocolate brings out the sweet nuttiness of the hazelnut and how the hazelnut brings out the deep richness of the chocolate. I absolutely loved the chantilly and was literally eating it out of the bowl. I brought the cake done to Miami and it seems to be a winner :)

Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake
Source: Alisa Huntsman's Sky High
Makes one 9inch triple layer cake

Ingredients – for the cake layers

1 cup skinned hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)

10 whole graham crackers (5½ ounces), broken into pieces

1¼ cups sugar

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely grated

10 eggs, separated

¼ cup vegetable oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

½ cup all purpose flour

1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp baking powder

Dark chocolate curls for decoration
(I omitted)

Method – for the cake layers
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of 3 9inch cake tins. Line the base with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour, tap out any excess.
Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
In a food processor, grind the graham crackers to crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the toasted nuts to the processor (no need to wash) and add ¼ cup of sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, but do not blitz too much or else it will form a paste. Add the nuts, graham cracker crumbs and grated chocolate together in the bowl and mix.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar using an electric mixer until well blended. Add the oil and vanilla slowly, beating until ribbons begin to form on the surface of the mixture. Then, fold in the chocolate nut crumbs.
Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until thick and foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, continuing to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and mix well to slacken the mix. Sift over the flour, spice and baking powder and fold in. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no streaks remain but do not over mix.
Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool completely.
To assemble the cake, place a layer on a cake stand, flat side up. Sprinkle it with a third of the rum syrup and let it all soak in for 1-2 minutes. Spread ¾ cup of crème Chantilly over the top, right to the edge. Repeat with the remaining layers, letting the syrup soak in before adding the crème. Use the rest of the crème to cover the sides of the cake. Decorate the top with dark chocolate curls.

Rum Syrup

¼ cup sugar

¼ water

¼ cup dark rum

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Allow to cool before using.

Crème Chantilly

2 cups heavy cream

3 tbsp confectioners sugar

1½ tsp vanilla extract

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl and whip until the cream is stiff but not too thick or buttery.

I made two mini cakes.

Delicious Slice

I just love cupcakes...

...filled cupcakes!


Gigi said...

Very cute! I loved the filled cupcakes! oh and I agree the whipped cream was divine!

Anonymous said...

I love the filled cupcakes also. So very yummy looking.

The Food Librarian said...

I love the mini and the cupcake! How creative!!! Looks perfect and very yummy. I loved this recipe.

Jo said...

Great job and I like the cupcake versin with the "surprise" filling.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

i know, time is flying by! your cake looks great, and i am loving the fulled cuppies!!

Katie said...

I love all the different styles you made. The filled cupcakes look divine

Ari (Baking and Books) said...

After seeing variations of this yummy cake several times tonight I must say, I feel a powerful midnight snack craving coming on! How I would love one of those cupcakes, or a slice of that cake right now. :)