Chocolate hazelnut cake
Preparation time:
3 hours
Cooking time:
1 hour 30 mins
Serves:
6
MKR Tested
MKR Tested

Ingredients

  1. Valrhona Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls, to decorate
  2. Edible violets, to decorate

Cake (base)

  1. 100g dark chocolate (70%% cocoa solids), chopped
  2. 100g unsalted butter
  3. 80g sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 25g plain flour

Chocolate mousse (middle layer of cake)

  1. 100g dark chocolate (70%% cocoa solids), chopped
  2. 1 egg white
  3. 80ml thickened cream
  4. 1 egg yolk
  5. 1 tbs caster sugar

Caramel cream (top layer of cake)

  1. 50g caster sugar
  2. 1 tbs water
  3. 200ml thickened cream
  4. 50g milk chocolate, chopped
  5. ¼ tsp sea salt
  6. 200ml double cream

Hazelnut praline (cake filling 1)

  1. 30g sugar
  2. 20g roasted hazelnuts, finely chopped

Ganache (cake filling 2)

  1. 25g caster sugar
  2. 2 tsp water
  3. 60ml thickened cream
  4. 60g unsalted butter
  5. 30g dark chocolate (80%% cocoa solids)
  6. 30g Gianduja chocolate (hazelnut chocolate)

Cherry jam (to smear on plate)

  1. 80ml cherry purée
  2. 20g sugar
  3. ½ tsp xanthan gum

Chocolate almond praline

  1. 100g caster sugar
  2. 1 tbs water
  3. 80g blanched almonds, roasted
  4. 100g white chocolate, melted

Notes

Tips:

  1. Gianduja is a rich Italian chocolate made with a high percentage of hazelnut paste. It is available from delicatessens. If unavailable, substitute with another type of hazelnut praline (you could try Lindt hazelnut Lindor).
  2. If you don't have a silicone mat, you can cook the cake in a greased, lined 20cm x 30cm slice pan.
  3. For the cherry purée, we blended pitted bottled cherries, which we then strained. You could use fresh if they are in season.
  4. If time permits, make these cakes a day in advance. This will make sure you have plenty of time for all the elements and then the finished cake to set.
  5. You will have approximately ½ cup of caramel cream, ¼ cup ganache and ¼ cup praline left over. Spread on pancakes or waffles or use to top cupcakes or fill profiteroles.

Method

  1. To make cake preheat oven to 180C. Place a silicone mat on an oven tray.
  2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth.
  3. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions. Add melted chocolate. Beat until combined. Fold in flour.
  4. Thinly spread mixture onto silicone mat until about 5mm thick. Cook for 5 minutes or until cake springs back when touched. Cool. Using an 8cm-round cookie cutter, cut out six rounds.
  5. To make chocolate mousse, melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until smooth. Whisk egg white until soft peaks form. Beat cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a small heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water until thick and creamy. Remove from heat. Fold in chocolate. Fold in cream. Fold in egg white. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
  6. To make caramel cream, stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until it turns dark golden. Add thickened cream (caramel may harden at this point). Stir until mixture is melted and combined. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate and salt until melted and smooth (set aside and refrigerate 4 tablespoons of this chocolate caramel mixture to decorate cakes). Cool slightly.
  7. Lightly whisk double cream to form soft peaks. Fold into cooled caramel cream mixture. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
  8. To make hazelnut praline, line a tray with baking paper. Dissolve sugar in a small saucepan, over low heat, without stirring, until dissolved. Cook until golden. Quickly stir in nuts to coat evenly, then pour onto prepared. Allow to set. Process to form coarse crumbs.
  9. To make ganache, stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until it turns dark golden. Add cream (caramel may harden at this point). Whisk until smooth and combined. Add butter and chocolate. Stir until smooth and combined. Remove from heat. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until firm.
  10. To make cherry jam, stir sugar and purée in a small saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Add xanthan gum, stirring until thickened. Strain. Cool.
  11. To make chocolate almond praline, line a tray with baking paper. Stir sugar and water in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves. Cook, without stirring, until it turns dark golden. Quickly stir in nuts to coat evenly, then pour onto prepared tray. Allow to set. Pour over white chocolate. Allow to set. Process to form coarse crumbs.
  12. To assemble cake, place cake rounds in bases of six 8cm-round, 2.5cm high presentation rings. Add the mousse and spread up to rim of ring, leaving an indent in the centre for the fillings. Sprinkle a little praline in the centre, then top with a teaspoon of the ganache. Spread top with caramel cream (to fill all remaining indent) and level with a pallet knife. Refrigerate for several hours or until set. To remove cakes, run a knife around inside of ring to loosen (you can use a blow torch to heat sides of ring if preferred).
  13. To serve, paint cherry jam across length of plate. Place cake in centre and top with a smear of the reserved chocolate caramel mixture. Add a sprinkle of chocolate almond praline. Dot plate with chocolate pearls and edible violets.