Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Cake

  1. 6 large eggs, separated
  2. pinch of salt
  3. 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  4. 14 ounces Nutella , (the jar sold in US stores is only 13oz, I added another ounce)
  5. 1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum, water (I used Frangelico)
  6. 1/2 cup ground hazelnuts* (I toasted, peeled, & ground my own.)
  7. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and line a 9-inch springform pan. (I used an 8 inch, which I think is why you see that buckle in my cake.  It rose to the tippy top of the pan.  Once it cooled it shrunk to half the original height.) 

Whisk egg whites and salt until stiff but not dry. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and Nutella. Mix in Frangelico, egg yolks, and hazelnuts. Fold in chocolate. Then, fold in the egg whites.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 40 minutes, (mine was done in 40 minutes despite the fact that I used a smaller pan.) until cake begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Cool cake completely on a wire rack.


Ganache
  1. 1/2 cup heavy cream
  2. 1 tablespoon Frangelico, rum, or water (I used frangelico) 
  3. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  4. 4 ounces, toasted hazelnuts for garnishing the top (whole, not chopped)

Toast hazelnuts in a skillet until golden brown in places. Transfer to a plate to cool. (Be sure to cool completely before putting them on the cake.)

In a heavy saucepan, heat the cream, Frangelico, and chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, remove pan from heat and whisk until thick enough to ice the cake.

Unmold the cake, leaving it on its base. Ice the top of the cake with the ganache.  (Allow the ganache to set up a bit or the hazelnuts will sink into the ganache.  This doesn't effect the taste so much as the look of the cake.) Top with toasted hazelnuts.

*Toasting, Peeling, & Grinding Hazelnuts, my experience.

I roasted my unpeeled hazelnuts for 10 minutes at 350 degrees on a rimmed cookie sheet in a single layer.  Every 3 or so minutes I reached in (w/an oven mitt on) and gave the pan a good shake to rotate the nuts.  You’ll see towards the end that the yummy hazelnut aromas are getting stronger and that the skin has split and become papery.  When they are toasted, I tossed my nuts, hot onto a clean kitchen towel. Once they have cooled enough for me to handle I rubbed them vigorously between the towel to remove the peel/skins.  (This will be annoyingly messy.) After giving them a good rub, I picked out all of the peeled hazelnuts. I left the remaining hazelnuts in the towel and continued to rub them until the majority of them were peeled.  The ones that were not I rubbed between my fingers.  Please note that you will NOT get off all of the skin from each one.  It’s okay. 

I ground the hazelnuts in my mini food processor.  It did an adequate job.  It wasn’t until I mixed the ground hazelnuts into my batter that I realized I should have tried grinding them a little finer.  I was worried about going too far and ending up with hazelnut butter.  I have heard that you can add a bit of corn starch or powdered sugar to keep that from happening but I was leery of trying it as I only had just enough hazelnuts for the recipe. Next time.
 

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