Another WINNING RECIPE on the Guardian Readers' Recipe Swap: EASTER! What's better than a ginormous chocolate cake for this extended Easter weekend? This is a scrumptious flourless hazelnut and chocolate cake made of three layers and will definitely be enough for a family to feast on over the 4-day easter break! I sort of created this cake to resemble those hazelnut praline chocolate eggs that Germany has! And to be honest, this also makes a great celebration cake! I recently made this for my friend Itisha's birthday. We (about 15) of us finished it without problem! Even my doesn't-have-a-sweet-tooth-friend Mario loved it. That's when you know a cake is good!!! ENJOY THE FEAST!
Serves 15- 20
For the cakes
270g unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for the tin
225g ground hazelnuts
350g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
270g golden caster sugar
9 eggs, separated
9 whole hazelnuts, toasted
50g roasted chopped hazelnuts
For the ganache
300g chocolate ( a combination of dark and milk chocolate depending on your preference – I usually use 150g milk chocolate, 150g dark chocolate), broken into pieces
chocolate, broken into pieces
150ml double cream
Serving suggestion (optional)
A small tub of sour cream / whipped cream
1. You will need either three 20cm round cake tins, or two 20cm round cake tins and muffin tin ( I used the Ikea DRÖMMAR muffin tin tray and made 9 small muffins -http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/00133038/ ) – you may have to adjust the number of muffins depending on the size of your muffin tin. For example, you can make a large muffin and have one muffin only in the centre of the cake as the third layer. BE CREATIVE!
2. Personally I strongly prefer the flavour of hazelnut, but you can substitute the ground hazelnut with ground almond.
1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF. Butter the cake tins and/or muffin tin, and line the base of the cake tins with baking parchment and use cupcake cases for the muffin tin.
2. For the cakes
(i) Place the chocolate, 200g of the sugar and the butter in a bowl and set this over a pot of boiling water (ensuring the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) and let the ingredients melt together.
(ii) Once everything is melted, remove from heat and stir in the ground hazelnuts. Mix well.
(iii) Beat the egg yolks slightly before adding this to the chocolate mixture.
(iv) In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites. When this is almost reaching soft peaks, add the remaining sugar (70g) and mix for a further few minutes until it reaches soft peaks.
(v) Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture bit by bit until well mixed.
(vi) Transfer the batter into three round tins or two round tins and 9 muffin cases in the muffin tin (or as appropriate).
(vii) For the round cake tins, bake for 20 minutes. For the small muffins, bake for 15 minutes.
(viii) Be sure to let the cakes cool for 15 minutes before attempting to turn the cakes out by running a knife around the edge to loosen them from the cake tins. For the muffins they should come out quite easily. Remove the muffin cases carefully. Turn the cakes / muffins out – the bases of the cakes will become the top.
3. For the ganache (you can start preparing the ganache once the cakes are in the oven)
(i) Melt the chocolate and double cream together in a bowl set over boiling water (again, similar to step 2a, ensure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water).
(ii) Ensure everything is melted and mixed well. Turn off the heat. Let the ganache cool slightly.
(iii) When the cakes are cooled, spread some ganache on the top of the bottom layer, and place the second cake onto the top. Spread some ganache on the top of the second layer and place the third layer or the muffins (one in the centre, and the rest neatly around it) on top of the second layer.
(iv) Now carefully pour the remaining ganache over the entire cake so that it covers the top as well as the side of the cakes/ muffins.
(v) Spread the ganache as evenly as possible around the entire cake but don’t worry if it looks a bit messy and uneven. This is where the roasted chopped hazelnuts come in.
(vi) Sprinkle the roasted chopped hazelnuts onto the cake to cover the entire cake. You can use the side of a knife to carefully press the chopped hazelnuts onto the cake to make sure they are properly stuck onto the cake.
(vii) Decorate with a whole hazelnut on each of the 9 muffins or decorate the top cake layer with the whole hazelnuts.
4. Serve the cake with sour cream or whipped cream (optional).