It is now only days until Christmas. And luckily, I managed to not only finish this cake yesterday, but I also finished my Christmas shopping. I can’t imagine what the stores are going to be like today – I’m just glad I’ll be spending the day at home, avoiding the crowds!
This month’s cake is perfect for your holiday celebration. A hazelnut cake with a hint of chocolate and spice, covered in a delicious whipped cream frosting. I knew I wasn’t going to make the whole recipe for just my husband and I to eat, so I halved the ingredients for the cake. I baked it in a large sheet pan, and then decided to cut it into squares. I was going for 6 thin layers, but I wasn’t very good at cutting them the same size, so I only ended up with 5 on the cake (and the leftover layer for the cook!!) And just because I like to indulge, I made the full recipe for the chantilly cream, and used almost all of it!!
I only ate a slice right after the cake was done, and I really liked it. I’ve heard that it is better the longer it sits, so I’m excited to try another slice later today. I, along with my husband, really like cakes with the whipped cream frosting – for some reason, they feel like they are lighter, even though I know the calories aren’t light!
The only change I made to this recipe, besides the layers and proportions, was to leave the rum out. I just used some extra water, and it all worked out.
I’ll have to make sure to not procrastinate on this next month’s cake, as hopefully I’ll have a new baby by the time we post next month!
Chocolate Hazelnut Nutcracker Cake
from Sky High
Makes one 9inch triple layer cake
Ingredients – for the cake layers
1 cup skinned hazelnuts (about 4 ounces)
10 whole graham crackers (5½ ounces), broken into pieces
1¼ cups sugar
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely grated
10 eggs, separated
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup all purpose flour
1½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
Dark chocolate curls for decoration
Method – for the cake layers
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of 3 9inch cake tins. Line the base with parchment paper and dust the sides with flour, tap out any excess.
2. Spread the nuts onto a baking tray and toast for 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Leave to cool completely. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
3. In a food processor, grind the graham crackers to crumbs. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add the toasted nuts to the processor (no need to wash) and add ¼ cup of sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, but do not blitz too much or else it will form a paste. Add the nuts, graham cracker crumbs and grated chocolate together in the bowl and mix.
4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and ½ cup of sugar using an electric mixer until well blended. Add the oil and vanilla slowly, beating until ribbons begin to form on the surface of the mixture. Then, fold in the chocolate nut crumbs.
5. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl and beat until thick and foamy. Gradually add the remaining ½ cup of sugar, continuing to beat until the whites form stiff peaks. Fold a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture and mix well to slacken the mix. Sift over the flour, spice and baking powder and fold in. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until no streaks remain but do not over mix.
6. Divide the batter between the three pans and bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the layers cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire wrack to cool completely.
7. To assemble the cake, place a layer on a cake stand, flat side up. Sprinkle it with a third of the rum syrup and let it all soak in for 1-2 minutes. Spread ¾ cup of crème Chantilly over the top, right to the edge. Repeat with the remaining layers, letting the syrup soak in before adding the crème.
Use the rest of the crème to cover the sides of the cake. Decorate the top with dark chocolate curls.
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup dark rum
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and add the rum. Allow to cool before using.
2 cups heavy cream
3 tbsp confectioners sugar
1½ tsp vanilla extract
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla in a chilled bowl and whip until the cream is stiff but not too thick or buttery.