Sunday, December 4, 2011

Chocolate Hazelnut Cake & A Blog Anniversary!

We went to Los Angeles for Thanksgiving and it felt extra good to be there especially because of the recent passing of a dear family member, a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather.  The weather was great, and I even got to exercise!  Sadly though, I decided against making the apple tart since someone else brought an apple dessert.  I ended up making a version of this cake instead, and I am glad I did because it was delicious.  The inspiration comes from Cook's Illustrated publication, Chocolate Desserts.  I chose the recipe not just for the decadence, the visual appeal, and the hazelnuts, but because it contains only two tablespoons of flour, so it could easily be turned into a gluten free cake.

The first time I made the cake without changing the proportions, but I thought it was a little too sweet and dry.  By comparing it with a flourless chocolate recipe I love, I decided to make few changes, namely add 1 oz of butter, decrease the chocolate by 1 oz, decrease the yolks by one and increase the whites by one. 

The chocolate glaze recipe comes from Alice Medrich, it is rich but not too sweet and it adds another layer to this wonderful cake, you can easily omit it if you prefer a simpler cake.  Keep it in your repertoire though because it is silky and delicious and makes any cake look elegant.

The candied grapefruit peel also adds wonderful taste and color to this cake, and can be substituted with orange peel or entirely omitted.

Happy 3rd  Birthday!

I imagine this cake at a Christmas table, or to celebrate New Year's Eve, but I made it again to celebrate my third blog anniversary.   I can't believe three years have passed since my first post, which had no pictures, just a recipe.  It has been three years of discovery, new friendships, and the discovery of a new passion for photography.  I am so grateful to have this platform,  I love blogging, it is a great creative outlet, especially since I am out of work again, it gives me an excuse to keep on baking and discover new recipes.  

Food photography is a new challenge and I have lots of learning to do, I believe I only scratched the surface of this new realm, so much to lean, so much to improve.  As I go deeper, I learn new tricks, meet amazingly talented people, and find never-ending inspiration.  One day I will have to list all the food photographers that I admire.

A special thanks to my readers who keep me going, I would love to see more of your comments when you stop by, so don't be shy!

Chocolate-Hazelnut Cake
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated

5 oz bittersweet chocolate
1 1/3 cups hazelnuts (7 oz.)
3/4 cup sugar
2 TBS corn starch
5 oz unsalted butter, softened
5 large egg yolks
4 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt

Toast the nuts in a 325F oven for 10 minutes. Using a kitchen towel rub the nuts against one another to remove the skin.  Cool completely.  Preheat oven to 350F, grease and paper line a spring form pan (mine was big, hence the short cake, if you want a higher cake use 8", it will take longer to bake).   Place the chocolate in a bowl over a water bath and melt, stirring occasionally.  Beat butter with 1/2 cup sugar until fluffy.  In the mean time, grind the cooled nuts, 1/4 cup sugar, and the corn starch in a food processor until fine, and set aside.  When the butter is nice and fluffy, add the egg yolks, one at a time.  Clean the side of the bowl with a spatula and slowly add the warm chocolate.  Mix until incorporated, cleaning the sides of the bowl few times.  Add the nut mixture and mix until uniform.  Whip the egg whites in a clean bowl with the salt until stiff.  Slowly incorporate the stiff whites into the cake base.  Pour into the spring form pan, level with a spatula, and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 40-45 minutes.  Cool and remove from the pan.  To assemble, pour the glaze on the top, spread it with a spatula and add the candied peel.



FrancescaV said...

ciao Laura, piacere di conoscere il tuo bel blog.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A beautiful cake! Happy Blogiversary and to many more.



Simona said...

Buon Blog-versario!

Being Me: Danielle said...

YUM!! ...and Congratulations!!! :)

Laura said...

Grazie Francesca, aspetto altre visite!

Thank you Rosa!

Grazie mille Simona!

Danielle, thank you for stopping by!

Sandra said...

Laura! Congratulations on your 3rd blog birthday! Blogging is such hard work, so kudos to you. I've enjoyed seeing both your recipes and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing all your hard work! This cake looks delicious; I shall have to try making this one day.

Dewi said...

Happy anniversary! Looking forward to more wonderful posts.

The cake looks so perfect and delicious!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your 3rd blog anniversary. And thanks for the recipe - the cake looks so elegant.

Lisa said...

Happy third Blogiversary, Laura!! This cake is the perfect way to celebrate - such thin, rich slices...Oh my, I want a slice right now! It's also absolutely gorgeous! The candied grpefruit peel really spiffs it up!

That said, so sorry to hear of the passing of your dear family member :(

Laura said...

Thank you everybody! The cake was even better two days later, hard to believe!

Junglefrog said...

That looks brilliant Laura and ofcourse happy blog-o-versary! (I don't particularly like that word, but for lack of a better one..) Doesn't time fly? We must have started blogging around similar times, but I've only recently discovered your lovely blog! And that cake... you could serve that easily any day of the year!

lisa is cooking said...

Happy blogoversary! This cake looks like a lovely way to celebrate. The candied grapefruit peel on top sounds great with it.

Divya @ flavourfiesta said...

The cake looks gorgeous and I'm sure it tastes pretty darn good too. Oh how I love chocolate!

Happy Blogiversary!

German Perez Diaz said...

Happy Blogiversary and Merry Christmas, the cake in the list after the Christmas! look very very ñami


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