Hazelnuts and chocolate. Chocolate and hazelnuts. Whichever way you want to say it, it's one perfect marriage.
The Italians have known this secret for a long time and refer to it as "gianduia". And let's not forget Nutella. That rich, chocolate/hazelnut spread. I have seen people go crazy over Nutella. Prior to living on my own I shared with a number of people who interestingly had this chocolate and hazelnut addiction!
One room mate ate a block of this chocolate mixture a day and the other would wake up in the middle of the night and eat a tablespoon of Nutella in her sleep! I kid you not.
I've tried to pay a little homage today to that famous marriage by baking a buttery cake and topping it with hazelnuts and then smothering it with a chocolate ganache and topping it again with more hazelnuts and a few chocolate curls or "sprinkles". I originally had envisioned a "runnier" ganache but of course I tried to rely on memory and added cold pouring cream to melted chocolate instead of adding warmed cream to the chocolate pieces! Never mind.
The ganache I ended up with allowed me to spread it over the top and was a much thicker consistency.
It's very similar to a chocolate cake recipe I featured last year (minus the olive oil).
What I had envisioned in this perfect marriage of ingredients was the "perfect bite". Hazelnuts-chocolate-hazelnuts without it being too overwhelming.
Hazelnut and Chocolate Cake Recipe
For the cake:
- 300 g brown sugar
- 240 g plain flour, all purpose
- 130 g butter, unslated, roughly chopped
- 240 ml cream, thickened
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 200 g hazelnuts, roasted
For the chocolate ganache:
- 200 g dark chocolate, cooking chocolate - 70% min. chopped into small pieces
- 250 ml cream, pouring
- Pre heat your oven to 180 deg C and grease and line a 23cm spring form cake tin
- In a food processor combine the sugar, flour and butter. Proceed to pulse the mixture until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Spread one third of this mixture into the bottom of the cake tin.
- In a separate bowl whisk together the cream, eggs and baking powder. Fold in the remaining flour mixture and stir until well combined.
- Pour into the cake tin and top with ¾ of the roasted hazelnut mixture
- Bake for 40-50 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle part of the cake comes out clean.
- Whilst the cake is cooling make the ganache by heating your cream in a heavy based saucepan until it starts to boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Allow to cool a little (or a lot, if you prefer it thicker) and pour over the cake. Top with more hazelnuts.
- Serve with Greek yoghurt.