from one generation to the next
The recipe for my famous chocolate hazelnut cake has been a closely guarded secret for thirty years. My cake has had pride of place at birthdays, weddings, christenings and other milestone celebrations. Guests of honour have cut my cake and made a ritual wish over my cake, ordinary every day people, people in high places and celebrities. My cake has even been the subject of a minor intellectual property dispute. Yes, it really is mine, and the time has come to share.
I have to thank my faulty memory for the evolution of this luscious cake. Relying on my memory I made it over and over again, it was always delicious………then I noticed how the ingredients and their quantities had deviated from that original recipe. Fortuitous indeed!
Chocolate Hazelnut Cake is an elegant celebration cake when glazed with chocolate ganache and topped with a rosette of whole hazelnuts. It cuts without crumbling. For the best results, make the cake the day before serving.
For a 20cm cake, to serve 12:
180g butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup castor sugar
4 eggs at room temperature, separated
180g good quality dark chocolate, chopped
180g raw hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 170C.
Grease a 20cm round springform cake pan and like with baking paper.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Cool slightly.
Grind the hazelnuts, skin on, in the food processor. You need a medium to fine grade meal.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the egg yolks one at a time, then stir in the melted chocolate and the hazelnut meal.
Whisk the egg whites into soft peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg white into the chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining 2/3.
Lightly tip the cake batter into the cake tin. Gently spread it to the edges and smooth the top.
Bake for 50 – 60 minutes, or until the cake is set in the middle.
Cool the cake in the tin, then coat with ganache.
250g dark chocolate
In a small saucepan bring the cream to the boil. Remove from the heat, add the chocolate and stir gently until the ganache is smooth and glossy.
Put the cold cake on a sheet of baking on a plate or flat tray. Pour the ganache over the cake, spread to the edge and over the sides. Place whole hazelnuts, point up, in an evenly spaced circle around the outside edge of the top of the cake. Allow the ganache to set.
To serve, cut with a hot knife