There is something mesmerizing about chocolate ganache. When I made it the other day, I fell into a kind of trance. Dark chocolate and warm cream slowly melting together creates the most amazingly delicious smell. The more the chocolate melts, the glossier the ganache gets and it feels like you are making a bowl of rich brown silk. I can’t think of any food that looks as enticing as chocolate ganache. There is also something so satisfying about pouring molten chocolate ganache from a height onto a cake. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to work with chocolate every day. *mouth waters*
This decadent glaze was perfect for my nutty and almost nutritious hazelnut cake. This cake is definitely one for the grown-ups, as it’s not excessively sweet, but rather nutty with an intense dark chocolate ganache. I used hazelnut flour, which is something that is new to me. It creates a cake that is rich and full of goodness. If you are good at resisting temptation this cake will keep for about a week, as the nuts keep it moist and fresh. When I make this cake again, I will slice it in half and slather a thicker ganache in the centre as you can never have too much ganache in your life. This cake is divine and one that I really enjoyed making, eating and even cleaning up after.
This cake recipe is adapted from a recipe here.
- 4 medum eggs
- 250g of white sugar
- 120g of salted butter
- 100g of yoghurt
- 100g of hazelnut flour (I used Holmquist)
- 250g of plain flour
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- 10-15 shelled hazelnuts
- 50 g of white sugar
- 25mls of water
- 120 ml of whipping cream
- 125g of dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
- 1 tsp of bourbon (optional)
Grease an 8 inch cake tin with butter and bottom line with parchment paper. I like to use a spring form tin for this recipe, as it’s easy to remove a cake from a spring form tin. Preheat the oven to 170 C/ 350F. Using an electric beaters/ food processor, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well between each addition. Add the yoghurt and beat to combine.
Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and add the hazelnut flour. Stir well to combine all the ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared tin. Cook for 45-60 minutes. Turn the cake midway through cooking to ensure even browning. Keep an eye on it, and put some foil over the cake if it’s browning too much. To test if the cake is cooked, insert a sharp knife / cake tester into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean the cake is done. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and place on a wire rack. Once cool, remove the cake from the tin and leave to rest on the wire rack.
To make the basic caramelized hazelnuts, use the smallest pot/ pan to melt the caramel. This will give you more depth for dipping the nuts. Put the water and sugar into the pan and heat over a medium high heat. Resist the urge to stir, just allow the sugar and water melt and bubble together. Heat for a few minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture becomes a golden caramel colour. Once it has taken on a deep golden brown color, take the caramel off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. The caramel is extremely hot, so be very careful not to touch it. Place the nuts, one at a time into the caramel and use a spoon to ensure the nut is evenly coated. Remove the caramel hazelnuts with the spoon and allow to cool on a sheet of parchment paper.
I experimented a bit with the hazelnuts – I made the basic ones and I also made caramel coated hazelnuts with a spike. You will notice lines on top of my cake – they are actually lines of caramel. To make the caramel coated nuts with a spike, place a cocktail stick into the side of a hazelnut. Put a baking tray lined with parchment paper onto your kitchen floor. Dip the hazelnut into the molten caramel, and then rest the cocktail stick on the counter, so that the coated hazelnut hangs over the counter edge. Any excess caramel will drip onto the parchment paper on the floor. You will be left with a hazelnut that has an icicle type caramel spike protruding from it. Once cool, remove the cocktail stick from the nut.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and places in a large bowl. Put the cream in a small heavy bottomed saucepan and heat until just beginning to simmer. Pour the hot cream into the bowl of chocolate and whisk until smooth. Add the bourbon if desired, and leave to cool slightly.
To decorate the cake, place it on the cooling rack on top of a baking tray. This way, any chocolate ganache that spills will spill into the baking tray, rather than your counter top! To coat the cake in ganache, start by pouring the ganache from the centre of the cake. Ensure all sides of the cake are covered with ganache. Decorate the cake with the caramelized hazelnuts. Leave the cake to cool for about 45 minutes minutes before serving.