I’ve decided that my favorite kinds of recipes to bring into my kitchen are the recipes that other people have already made and I have eaten and loved so much that I have to make it myself. That’s how I got the recipe for the butternut squash and sausage pasta. And that’s how I got the recipe for this cake. A co-worker of mine made it for our office Christmas party, I ate two slices, and now, here we are.
I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I always keep hazelnuts in my freezer. Even though they could be available year round, I suppose my grocery store thinks that people only buy them at Christmas. And so, when they appear in the bins for sale for a few short weeks during December, I stock up my freezer for cookies and cakes like this and my ultimate goal of finding the perfect hazelnut gelato recipe.
And now, since I’ve made this cake and it was so easy and so delicious, I’m pretty worried that my 1.5 bags I have left will not last me until next December. (I might need to look for another local store that stocks hazelnuts year round.)
Just a note about the hazelnuts here: you can toast them but you don’t have to. I toasted mine when I made this. I let them steam in a towel and then rubbed most of the dark brown skins off. You don’t have to do this though. My friend who made it for our party said she was pretty sure she didn’t toast the hazelnuts first (although she sometimes does) and frankly, I thought it was one of my favorite cakes either way.
This cake feel so elegant, and yet it is so easy to make. And even though it is called a cake, the texture is a bit denser and makes me think more of a torte. If you want to toast your hazelnuts for the cake (but you don't have to), place them on a baking sheet in a 350 degree F oven for about 12-15 minutes. Then place them in a kitchen towel, wrap them up and let them steam for about 5 minutes or so. Then rub the towel vigorously for several minutes until a lot of the skin has come off.
- For the cake:
- 1 cup hazelnuts (optional: toasted and skins removed)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
- For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1 cup semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan.
- Reserve 8 nuts for a garnish if you would like, and place the rest of the nuts in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until the nuts are ground, but not so much that they begin to turn into a paste. You can reserve a tablespoon of the ground nuts for a garnish as well, if you'd like to.
- In a medium sized bowl combine the ground hazelnuts with the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir together and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light yellow and thick, about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add the flour mixture, beating on low. Then gradually add the butter, beating on low until combined.
- Spread the batter out into the greased pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for about 15 minutes, then take the cake out and invert it onto a serving dish. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
- To prepare the glaze, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until it is just about to come to a boil. Remove from heat, add the chocolate, and let sit for about 3-4 minutes. Then stir until smooth. Then stir in the vanilla.
- Pour the glaze over the top of the cake, using a spatula to spread it out to the edges. You can let some drip down the sides if you want as well. Top the cake with any garnish you reserved. Serve at room temperature.
adapted from Pillsbury