Friday, 6 April 2012

Hazelnut Dream

Every year, I make a ridiculously chocolately Easter cake.  Even though, this year, I will be spending Easter away from my family, I could not let this little tradition go so easily.  The cake I chose is a Torta All Gianduia.  Sounds gloriously fancy, doesn't it?  Basically it's a flourless hazelnut cake, or a Nutella cake.  Despite calling for a whole jar of Nutella, dark chocolate, 6 eggs and Frangelico, this cake is surprisingly light.  Of course, the beautiful lightness comes from the whisked egg whites which are carefully incorporated but I'm also talking in flavour.  This looks like a solid, rich cake but you can very easily have more than a small slice.  It's delightfully nutty which balances out the sweetness of the Nutella and the richness of the dark chocolate.  The beautiful roasted hazelnuts on top announce to the world that this is no ordinary flourless chocolate cake and the dark chocolate ganache glistens underneath in contrast.  This cake is definitely for a special occassion and one that will now form a regular part of my kitchen repertoire.  Credits must go to Nigella Lawson and her book, How to be a Domestic Goddess, as this is a recipe that I have not messed around with - it is simply perfection as it is.
Torta All Gianduia
6 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
125g unsalted butter, softened
400g jar of Nutella
1 tbsp Frangelico (or rum, which I used)
100g ground hazelnuts
100g dark chocolate, melted

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees and prepare a 23cm springform tin.
Whisk the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks.
Separately, beat the butter and Nutella together.  Incorporate the Frangelico (or rum), egg yolks and ground hazelnuts, then fold in the cooled melted chocolate.
Add a large dollop of the egg whites to lighten the batter.  Beat this in well.
Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites, a third at a time.
Pour into the tin and cook for 40 minutes.  The cake should be beginning to come away at the sides. 
Leave the cake to cool in the tin.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
Roast 100g of hazelnuts in a 180 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool completely before rubbing of outer skin.
Add 125mL of double cream, 125g dark chocolate and 1 tablespoon of your chosen tipple from earlier.  Heat this gently and stir until chocolate has melted.  Remove from the heat and whisk until the ganache thickens.  Pour over the top of cake and top with roasted hazelnuts.



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