Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

Foodista Cookbook Entry

Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL:

This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs, room temperature
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons coffee
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup
7 1/2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar


Starting with cake, cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla.
Pour into chocolate and mix well.
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternately with buttermilk.
Stir coffee into boiling water until combined, then pour into cake batter and stir until smooth.
Spray two 9-inch cake pans with floured baking spray. Dust with cocoa. Evenly spread cake batter between both pans. Bang lightly on the counter to settle batter.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester comes out clean, in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Let cakes cool on a rack for at least an hour.
As cakes cool, move on to hazelnut pastry cream. Pour whipping cream in a sauce pan and scald (heat just before boiling).
In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar. Add flour and cornstarch. Whisk until smooth.
Use a ladle to scoop about a cup of the hot cream into the eggy sugar. Whisk immediately and quickly to combine.
Pour remaining cream in with eggs and keep stirring. Return warm mixture to sauce pan.
Continue to cook, whisking all the while, until thick.
Pour into a heat safe bowl and whisk in vanilla and Frangelico until smooth and creamy. Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the cream so a film will not form. Let the cream sit until it’s reached room temperature. Cool completely in fridge.* Stir hazelnuts into cream once cold.
Level off both cooled cakes and slice each one in half, so there are four layers.
Lay down one cake layer and smooth about a third of the hazelnut cream on top, spreading to about 1/2 inch from edge. Repeat with next two layers and top with last layer. Place cake in fridge to set while you make the frosting.
For the frosting, whisk all of the ingredients in a medium sized heat resistant bowl. Place bowl on top of a slightly larger pot with 1-2 inches of hot, simmering water. (Do not let water level reach the bottom part of the bowl.)
With an electric mixer, beat egg white mixture for six minutes. Remove from heat and continue beating for another minute while adding the vanilla.
Allow frosting to cool slightly (we put it in the fridge for about 10 minutes) before frosting cake. Top with extra hazelnuts.
You can make the pastry cream 1-2 days ahead of time, which is exactly what we did. Do not stir in the hazelnuts until right before you plan to use it.




We are not as haughty as Marie Antoinette. At least we do not think so. We do like cake though. That is the only connection between the Duo and the bourgeois dauphine de France, and it is a very loose one. We’ve made a good number of cakes and sweets in our tiny corner of Los Scandalous, and this one was yet another attempt to flex the flavorful bicep of a collection of goodies in the pantry. A while back, we bought a big ‘ol Snuggie wearing, friar shaped bottle of Frangelico for a couple of desserts, and it’s been sitting in the cabinet awaiting its next application. When Frangelico shows up to the party, it never disappoints, and here it is again working its magic. If little Marie told us to go eat some cake, we’d ask her to serve a slice of this one.

This cake has a slight coffee kick to it that works with the chocolate and hazelnuts. Amir thought the coffee flavor was too pronounced, but Chrystal thought it was just right, so use that as your judgment scale if you choose to go the java route. Love love loooooved the frosting. It tastes like billowy marshmallows. Note: You’re supposed to use cream of tartar or corn syrup in the frosting, not both. Woops. If anyone else has made this frosting before, perhaps you can give us your feedback on which is better and why. We also used golden syrup instead of light corn syrup in our frosting. Just because. Oh, and this is a cake to start making the day before if you have time, so don’t get caught under the whistle of time constraints!

We are by no means cake masters, but here are a couple of things we’ve learned about cakes from research and trial and error. Now some of these things we did in this round, some we omitted. A few of the ones we omitted were things that we should’ve done, but hey, this is not a Food Network Challenge. We have room to make mistakes. Hopefully we will use more tools and tricks of the trade as we move further into the crazy domain of cake baking. Here are a few of them in a very abbreviated format. You can Google around and find many more specifics all over the wonderful world of net.




Saturday, December 5, 2009 - 6:00pm


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