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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

I think hazelnuts are my favourite nut.  They are great on their own, mixed with chocolate, chopped on top of ice cream and flavoured in coffee - if you have never tried a hazelnut latte I highly recommend you do.

This cake is taken from Rachel Allen BAKE and was a recipe I intended to make a few weeks ago although the lack of hazelnuts in my local supermarket put a stop to it.  This is a relatively simple cake with regards to ingredients but it has a slightly more time consuming element to the bake.  Having to whisk both the egg yolks and whites separately and combine later  this is definitely one of those cakes that will produce more washing up than normal.

Flour free, and therefor gluten free (if you also adapt the baking powder), this cake can be eaten by anyone - assuming of course you must like nuts.  

The recipe has a footnote that suggests swapping cinnamon for chocolate.  I have decide to include both chocolate and cinnamon in my cake.  The quantity of cinnamon to chocolate is so small I am sure it wont corrupt the overall flavour.  Anyway, I often sprinkle cinnamon over my hot chocolate so I am sure this cake will taste fine.

This cake is light to eat with a delicate flavour of hazelnuts and chocolate.  Make sure you process as much as possible and double check you have not escaped pieces - you don't want to find a nut chunk.  Due to the high nut contain this cake keeps well for a few days in a airtight container.  Enjoy with coffee - maybe a hazelnut latte.

Italian 'Chocolate' Hazelnut Cake
by Rachel Allen

Serves 6-8

200g hazelnuts (with skins on)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50g chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
100g butter, softened
5 eggs, separated
175g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

24cm spring-form/loose bottomed tin

Preheat the oven to 170C (150C fan).  Butter and line the sides and base of the tin with greaseproof paper.

Grind the hazelnuts with the baking powder, chocolate and ground cinnamon in a food processor until fine.  Add the butter and combine (about 10 seconds).



Place the egg yolks and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk and work on full power until the mixture becomes 'moussey' and holds a trail when you lift the beater.  About 5 minutes.


Add the hazelnut mixture and vanilla and whisk until combined.

In a large 'spotlessly clean' bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks.  Gently fold this into the nut mixture in three stages, carefully,  so you don't knock out too much air.


Pour in the tin and bake for 60 minutes, until firm and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Don't check on this cake until the hour is up, it may collapse if you do..

Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before, gently, turning out.  You may find the rise in the cake retreats and you end up with a flat cake, this is normal, however a sunken cake isn't.

Leave to cool completely before cutting and serving -  dust with cocoa powder if you like.